Posts Tagged ‘Child Custody’

California Divorce Blog–Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Divorce

September 25, 2016

Today I was quoted in an article published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation regarding the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Divorce. This articles addresses issues raised in Child Custody litigation. The link to the article is a as follows:

Child Custody Litigation is an extremely complex area of Family Law. If you have questions regarding child custody issues please call Attorney Keith F. Simpson at (310) 297-9090. The Law Offices of Keith F. Simpson, A Professional Corporation, is located in Manhattan Beach, California.



California Divorce Blog–High Net Worth Divorce

September 3, 2016

High Net Worth divorce cases present unique issues in a marital dissolution matter. Whether you are a high net worth individual such as an Entrepreneur, Investor, Doctor, Lawyer or married to one, you face a unique set of challenges.

The first issue is to identify all assets (and debts) in a high net worth divorce. This includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Real Estate Holdings
  • Stock Investments
  • Ownership in Closely Held Corporations or other Entities
  • Patents, Copyrights and/or Trademarks
  • Art Collections
  • Gold
  • Exotic Vehicles including Yachts

Once we identify the assets we then need to have the assets valued. This is typically done by a professional appraiser when necessary.

Once the assets and values have been ascertained, we then need to determine whether the property is Community Property, Separate Property or a mix of Community Property and Separate Property. This may be complex depending on when the property was acquired, how the property was acquired and how title to the property is held.

Spousal Support is often a heavily litigated issue in High Net Worth Divorce cases. Permanent Spousal Support is determined upon a number of factors which include the length of marriage and the Marital Standard of Living. In High Net Worth cases, the Marital Standard of Living often includes frequent travel and residences in affluent communities. Therefore, it is extremely important to retain a competent attorney to represent your interests in a High Net Worth Divorce matter.

Please contact Attorney Keith F. Simpson today if you have any questions regarding a High Net Worth Divorce at (310) 297-9090. The Law Offices of Keith F. Simpson, A Professional Corporation, is located in Manhattan Beach, California.


California Divorce Blog–Child Custody Move Away

December 7, 2014

I am often asked if a parent who has primary custody, or even Sole Legal Custody and Sole Physical Custody, may Move Away with the child without a Court Order. Generally, the answer is NO. Parties should seek Court Approval of the Move Away before moving with the child. The adverse consequence could include losing custody of your child.

By statute, a parent with sole physical custody of the children has the presumptive right to change the children’s residence, subject to the court’s power to restrain a removal that would “prejudice the rights or welfare” of the children. (See Family Code Section 7501(a); Marriage of Burgess; Marriage of LaMusga; F.T. v. L.J.–Parent does not have presumptive right to relocate with children unless awarded custody by way of “final judicial custody determination.)
But the custodial parent has no more than a presumptive right to relocate with the children, and this is true even if he or she has also been awarded sole legal custody. A sole physical and legal custody order does not terminate the other parent’s parental rights or due process interest in parenting; the noncustodial parent still has standing to oppose the relocation and to seek and obtain a custody modification based on a proper showing of detriment and changed circumstances. (Marriage of Brown).
If you are entertaining the thought of moving away with your Children you should first consult a Lawyer. Also, if your child’s parent is requesting to move away with your children you should first discuss with an attorney. I am often called the week before a scheduled move and asked whether it is permissible to move away with children without a court order. Please understand that it can take generally between two to six months to obtain a Move Away order assuming the parent seeking the move away is successful.
Please call Attorney Keith F. Simpson today to discuss your Family Law case at (310) 297-9090. The Law Offices of Keith F. Simpson, A Professional Corporation, are located in Manhattan Beach, California. You may also visit the website at to e-mail Attorney Keith F. Simpson today.

California Divorce Blog–Alcoholism and the Alcoholic

December 2, 2014

Addiction issues are often the root cause of divorce. When a person is addicted to a substance they are not the same person. Unfortunately, this causes the entire family to suffer.  If you are an alcoholic, or are married to an alcoholic, you should be aware of the potential impact upon your divorce case.

The Court may consider the history of drug abuse when determining Child Custody.  In determining the child’s best interest, trial courts also must consider either parent’s “habitual or continual” alcohol abuse, their “habitual or continual” illegal use of controlled substances, or their “habitual or continual” abuse of prescribed controlled substances (as defined in California Health & Safety Code Section 11000 et seq.; See California Family Code Section 3011(d)).

Before considering allegations of a parent’s drug oralcohol abuse, the court may require “independent corroboration”—such as written reports from law enforcement agencies, courts, probation departments, social welfare agencies, medical and rehabilitation facilities, or other organizations providing drug and alcohol abuse services. (See California Family Code Section 3011(d)).

Under strict statutory conditions, the court may order any person seeking custody or visitation to undergo testing for the use of illegal controlled substances (as defined in California Health & Safety Code Section 11000 et seq.) or alcohol; and may order either or both parties to pay the costs of such testing. (California Family Code Section 3041.5)
(The statutory conditions are intended to address the constitutional concerns noted in prior case law that interpreted the then-existing Family Code as not authorizing compelled drug/alcohol testing in custody litigation (Wainwright v. Super.Ct. (Sinkler) (2000) 84 CA4th 262, 266-269, 100 CR2d 749, 752-754). 
If alcoholism or addiction issues are present in your Divorce case, it is important to seek immediate legal representation. The alcoholism may significantly impact the issue of child custody, child support and/or spousal support.  Please call Attorney Keith F. Simpson today to further discuss your legal matter at (310) 297-9090. You may also e-mail Keith Simpson at Thank you for reading this blog.

California Divorce Blog–Domestic Violence

December 1, 2014

I often handle family law matters involving the issue of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders. Domestic Violence can have a detrimental impact upon everyone involved in the case. The victim is often traumatized and scarred both physically and emotionally. Also, a finding of Domestic Violence can cause the perpetrator to have significantly reduced child custody and also cause a higher spousal support order.

Upon a finding by the court that the person seeking custody has perpetrated domestic violence against the other party, the child or the child’s siblings within the past five years, there is a rebuttable presumption that a sole or joint physical or legal custody award to the perpetrator would be detrimental to the child’s best interest. This presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence. (See California Family Code Section 3044(a).

For purposes of Family Code Section 3044, a person has “perpetrated domestic violence” when the court finds that he or she (i) intentionally or recklessly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury or sexual assault; (ii) placed a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or another; or (iii) engaged in any behavior involving (but not limited to) threatening, striking, harassing, destroying personal property or disturbing the peace of another, for which a Family Code Section 6320 ex parte order could issue to protect the other party seeking custody of the child or to protect the child and child’s siblings.  (See Family Code Section 3044(c))

Domestic violence is a very serious matter. The NFL started an advertising campaign this year after the Ravens football team released running back Ray Rice for Domestic Violence against his then fiancé. In a Family Law matter, the issue of Domestic Violence usually significantly impacts the outcome of a case. For the Perpetrator of Domestic Violence, it can cause mandated Supervised Visitation, loss of custodial time with his or her children and/or loss of custodial time all together. For the victim, it can cause emotional scars which last a lifetime.

If you are involved in a Domestic Violence matter, please call Attorney Keith F. Simpson today to discuss your case at (310) 297-9090. Keith Simpson is a Manhattan Beach lawyer with the Law Offices of Keith F. Simpson, A Professional Corporation. You may also contact Keith Simpson at and send an e-mail. Thank you for reading my blog.

California Divorce Blog–Japan ratifies Hague Convention

April 19, 2014

On April 1, 2014, Japan officially became a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This is cause for celebration because far too many children have been abducted and taken to Japan by the Japanese parent.  Hopefully, as the Japanese courts begin to grapple with Hague cases the Judges will gain experience and knowledge about the Hague Convention and return children to their home countries as required by the convention.

This is important progress but far from the safety net many assume.  Please note that the Convention has no retroactive effect, although some countries may voluntarily act. It usually takes a while for a country to fully train judges and comply with the treaty. It is pretty clear that Japan will construe defenses broadly where Domestic Violence is alleged.

In Japan, when there are allegations of Domestic Violence, typically the Dad is not allowed visitation. Japan uses the “clean break” approach to custody — consolidating all rights and power in one parent and allowing that parent to decide if there will be visits. Japanese fathers struggle to get any visitation. There are many other problems with Japanese custody law and practice. 

As a practical matter, there are no real-world remedies for the left-behind parent. If one parent remains in the US and the other parent moves with the child to Japan, the parent remaining in the US may never see his or her child again.
It is important that you contact an experienced attorney when dealing with Child Custody matters. Please contact Attorney Keith F. Simpson today at (310) 297-9090 to discuss your important legal issue!  Or visit to e-mail Attorney Simpson.

California Divorce Blog–Domestic Violence and Child Custody

February 17, 2014

The issue of Domestic Violence often spills over into Divorce or Paternity matters involving child custody.  The reason is because once a Court makes a finding that Domestic Vionence has occurred, there is a reputable presumption that the granting sole or joint custody to the perpetrator of domestic violence is detrimental to the best interest of the child.  See California Family Code Section 3044.  This is a very powerful statute which can be used as a sword or shield depending on what side you are on.  This is all the more reason why anyone involved in a case which includes domestic violence allegations needs to get an attorney in my opinion.  The finding of the existence or absence of domestic violence can significantly change the dynamics of any case.

It is important to remember that the presumption always is rebuttable. In fact, a domestic violence perpetrator may overcome the Family Code Section 3044(a) presumption even if he or she was criminally convicted of domestic violence. [See F.T. v. L.J. (2011) 194 CA4th 1,28, 123 CR3d 120, 141 (rejecting argument that presumption is conclusive in cases involving criminal convictions).

If you are the victim of Domestic Violence and have children with the alleged perpetrator, obtaining an order for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order will give you additional leverage in your child custody litigation.  The presumption is that it is not in the child’s best interest to be with the perpetrator of domestic violence.  I want to caution everyone that this is not a game and domestic violence allegations should only be made when they are truthful and not be used to gain an unfair advantage against an opposing party.

Conversely, if you are the alleged perpetrator, it is crucial that you and your counsel present a zealous defense against the domestic violence allegations.  If the Court grants a Domestic Violence Restraining Order against you, the other party now has a stronger hand for the next round of child custody litigation.

Finally, every Child Custody Order should comply with California Family Code Section 3048 which sets forth the Required Contents for Child Custody Orders.

Attorney Keith F. Simpson is located in Manhattan Beach, California. Please contact Attorney Keith F. Simpson today to discuss your Family Law matter at (310) 297-9090 or

California Divorce Blog–Divorce With Children

January 1, 2013

I often experience a rise in inquiries about divorce and child custody every January after the holidays.  If you are considering divorce I find that it is best to communicate with your children.  It is best to consult with a psychologist about how to approach this situation with children.  Children need stability and the divorce process can be very unsettling for children. Therefore, the following may be helpful.

1. If possible, tell the children together in private that the two of you will be getting a divorce. Obviously, certain situations will not permit this to occur. For example, if there is domestic violence in your relationship.

2. Make sure you tell the children that it is not their fault. Children often tend to blame themselves for the failure of your marriage or relationship. It is important to tell your children that you both will always love them.  Your children should feel like they are loved by both of you during the divorce process.

3. Do not alienate the other parent from the children. The children should not be forced to “choose sides” or agree with your reason for your divorce.

4. You should Co-Parent with the other parent. Even though the two of you have differences, it is extremely important to ignore your differences when dealing with your children and the other parent.

5. Add Structure to your child’s schedule. Divorce often causes your children to feel insecure.  Therefore, it is very important to have structure so your child will feel as secure as possible when going through a divorce. This means that a structured custody schedule is important to a child.  You do not want your child to feel as though he or she is constantly living out of a suitcase.

Obviously, these are general guidelines which may not apply to your situation. It is best to consult a professional psychologist or Marriage Family Therapist to further discuss.  I hope this helps some families with children who are experiencing divorce.  For any questions regarding your divorce please call Attorney Keith F. Simpson at (310) 297-9090 or visit

California Divorce Blog–How to approach Divorce and the Holidays

December 25, 2012

The holidays are supposed to be a cheerful time but for many people who have a pending divorce or are newly divorced, the holidays can cause increased stress, anxiety and/or depression. People tend to focus on their family holiday traditions which can make people become further depressed. Here are some tips to help you through the holiday season.

1. Donate your time to a charity to give back and help others in need. This will also allow you to start a new holiday tradition which is beneficial to you and those benefiting from your service.

2. Reach out to friends or family for support. This is especially important for people who do not like to be alone during the holidays.

3. Start new holiday traditions.  This can be as simple as eating out at a restaurant, going to a movie or going outdoors for an excursion.

4. Co-parent with your ex-spouse.  Try to make an extra effort to co-parent so your children feel loved and cherished by both parents. It is very important to not say anything negative about the other parent in front of your children. Doing so will only add to your child’s holiday stress level.

5. If you and your ex-spouse are not speaking then remember that it is extremely important that both of you follow the court order regarding child custodial pick up and drop off.  Failure to do so will only add to everyone’s stress level.

I hope this helps families during the holiday season.  Please call Attorney Keith F. Simpson if you have any questions regarding divorce at (310) 297-9090 or visit his website at

California Divorce Blog– Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Comments on Parental Child Abduction in Japan

June 17, 2012

According to multiple sources including the Mainichi Shinbun, a Japanese newspaper, American Diplomat and academic Dr. Kurt Campbell, the current United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, spoke to families of Japanese victims kidnapped by North Korea. During the meeting Assistant Secretary Campbell voiced his support for the Government of Japan to take action on the issue of Parental Child Abduction (presumably urging support for the Hague Convention).  This wrinkled feathers as the Japanese Government views the two issues as separate and distinct. Kidnapping as a state sponsored action as compared with parental child kidnapping.

Certainly the two issues are separate. However, an argument can certainly be made that they are one in the same if the Japanese Government is complicit in allowing parental child kidnappings to occur in Japan. I believe this is the case.

The world has been urging Japan, a first world nation, for years to on to sign on to, and ratify the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  The Government of Japan, which has again stated that Japan will sign the Hague Convention, has requested amendments to it, prior to signing. The problem with this request is that all parties have signed the Convention in its present form.  If Amendments were made to the convention then this would require ratification and likely dilute enforcement of its provisions.  It is best for all non-party nations to sign on to the Hague Convention as children should not be allowed to be spirited away from one country to the next without permission.

The United States Department of State recently made changes in how it approaches cases involving children in Japan.  An American parent recently received communication from the State Department which provided in part that “the Office of Children’s Issues’ (OCI) procedures have recently changed and we will be unable to request future welfare visits for your children, as we are no longer making these requests for access-only cases.”  This seems to indicate that the Department of State will no longer work on these types of cases which is very unfortunate for American parents with children in Japan who are being denied visitation by their ex-spouses. Recently OCI has been referring parents of children abducted to Japan to the Japanese Court system.  As we are all aware, a referral to the Japanese Court System to obtain custody has been a dead end referral to date. It is certainly the very rare exception when any non-custodial parent prevails in the Japanese Court system.  Everyone is aware of this issue, which makes this a sad day for American parents of children stuck in Japan.

I became an attorney because I believe in the Rule of Law. Without law we would have anarchy. There are places in the world where the Rule of Law is non-existent. We all know what happens when this occurs. The Country of Japan does not have the Rule of Law regarding Parental Child Abductions.   I urge Japan to ratify the Hague Convention as they have indicated they may.  Parents and children demand the certainty of the Rule of Law. Without it we are simply left with chaos, which clearly does not work.

Attorney Keith F. Simpson is a California Lawyer in Manhattan Beach, California and represents clients regarding all types of Family Law matters. Please call Keith Simpson today to discuss your question at 310-297-9090.