Archive for the ‘Child Custody’ Category

The Importance of School Performance in Kansas Child Custody Cases

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Divorce is never an easy or stress free experience, and few issues are as emotionally challenging as child custody disagreements.  In the best case, child custody arrangements in Kansas are resolved amicably by agreement between the parents.  Amicable resolution to child custody disputes ease the potential emotional harm that can be inflicted on a child in a Kansas child custody case and provides a foundation for a constructive future co-parenting arrangement.  A divorce will not change the fact that parents share a child, which makes it critical to find ways to develop constructive interactions with the other parent for both your own sanity and the long-term wellbeing of your children.  Sadly, the hurt and conflict that often leads people to divorce sometimes prevents a mutually agreeable resolution to child custody disputes in Kansas.  When child custody conflicts cannot be resolved, school performance can be a critical factor in determining the outcome of a Kansas child custody case.

When courts must make residential orders for children in a divorce, the court will look at a wide range of factors.  Custody cases are difficult because obtaining reliable evidence to guide the court can be a challenge.  This places a premium on objective reliable evidence that is hard to manipulate.  One of the best sources for such evidence is school performance.  It is very common that parents will physically separate prior to a court making formal child custody orders.  A parent who moves out of the home to keep the peace or because cohabiting with one’s spouse is no longer a tenable option should be aware of the potential impact on future child custody orders.  If the child remains behind in the family home, which is common to facilitate transportation for school, the child’s school performance may have a substantial impact on future custody orders.

A child’s successful social, behavioral and academic performance in school is considered a reliable indicator of a child’s adjustment.  This means if a child remains with the parent in the family home after the child’s parents separate, the court may be persuaded by a child’s performance in the classroom.  If a child is thriving in the classroom, a Kansas family court may be inclined to preserve the status quo in terms of the informal child custody arrangement that evolves when a parent leaves the home.  If the child is not performing well in school, then the court may be more inclined to make changes to the residential arrangements.

Kansas courts like those in most states look to the best interest of the child to determine appropriate timeshare arrangements.  Unfortunately, many of the factors that go into this determination tend to be either conflicting or easily manipulated.  For example, the parents will frequently provide completely conflicting accounts.  The minor child also may express a preference, but there is always a substantial risk that the child is being influenced or manipulated by one of the parents.  School records are objective so the court will tend to rely heavily on such evidence.  Our law firm has successfully represented many Kansas parents in child custody disputes by effectively utilizing school records including report cards, letters from teachers, attendance records, school disciplinary records and other evidence that provides an objective third party measure of a child’s adaptation to a timeshare arrangement.

At Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C., we represent parents in child custody disputes in the cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublette, Elkhart, Johnson City, Hugoton, Ulysses, Dodge City, Meade, Seward county and all other communities in Southwest Kansas.  If you are involved in a Kansas child custody dispute, our Liberal Kansas child custody attorneys represent clients with compassion and commitment so call us at (620) 624-8158 to see how we can help.

High Conflict Custody Cases: How Can They Be Avoided

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Most family therapists and other mental health professional agree that divorce can have a profound affect on children.  A child often loses daily contact with one parent and may also have reduced contact with extended family, which may be part of the child’s support structure.  Children may also be forced to change schools and move from the family home.  Depending on the distance of the relocation, children may even lose contact with their friends.  The impact of a bitter high conflict divorce and child custody dispute can have profound long-term effects on one’s children.  However, this result is not inevitable; there is a better way.

The attorneys of Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. are committed to helping parents facing divorce reach constructive workable long-term resolution of their child custody issues.  Our experienced family law attorneys recognize that conflict and dispute does more to increase the stress and cost of your divorce than to promote your best interest and the long-term well being of your children.  We also know that the reasons behind a divorce can mean that a parent may be struggling with anger, pain and hostility.  Our experienced Kansas family law attorneys can provide a candid and straightforward evaluation of what a court may do and help you cut through the emotional turmoil and animosity to negotiate workable solutions.

It is almost always better to reach a negotiated settlement of child custody issues because it will make the process easier on your children and result in more stable and lasting child custody arrangements.  Sometimes a highly contested custody dispute is unavoidable, especially where certain issues are involved including:

  • Drug or alcohol use or abuse
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Domestic violence toward a spouse or others in the household
  • Criminal offenses by a parent (particularly criminal offense involving violence or unsafe conduct)
  • Failure of a parent to protect a child from harm by a third party (i.e. new relationship)

Where these issues are not present, the more reasonable and constructive the communication between parents the less a divorce will hurt their children.  A child custody case that is negotiated effectively and constructively will also significantly reduce the cost of a divorce.  Our experienced Kansas child custody attorneys have provided some suggestions for reducing the adverse impact of a divorce on your children:

  • Avoid disparaging comments about the other parent in your children’s presence
  • Do not discuss issues of contention in the divorce with your children
  • Give the other parent the first option for providing “daycare” when you are unavailable
  • Advice the other parent of significant developments involving your children with regard to school, heath, religion and other significant issues.
  • Invite the other parent to your children’s extra-curricular activities
  • Encourage your children’s visitation with the other parent
  • Engage in positive constructive communication with your spouse in your children’s presence

These suggestions may sound excruciatingly difficult if the other parent is hard to deal with or your divorce is extremely contentious.  However, the more that you can follow these suggestions, the easier your children will adjust to a divorce.  It will also tend to promote trust and effective co-parenting with your spouse.  If you approach your child custody dispute with this type of cooperative approach, there may be benefits even if your spouse does not reciprocate.  If the court must determine custody orders in your divorce, it will look to the best interest of your children.  While a number of factors are relevant to this consideration, one of the things the court looks at closely is the your willingness and ability to promote and encourage your children’s relationship with the other parent.

We know that even basic civility can be difficult in the context of the anger and hurt that often accompanies a divorce.  Our compassionate family law attorneys will guide you through these emotional hurdles so that you and your children can get on with your lives.  The Kansas child custody attorneys of Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. want your divorce to be a new beginning rather than a bitter ending.