Parties separated 11 years ago, and the mother was permitted to move across the country with the parties’ children when they were still toddlers, before the move-away laws in California changed dramatically. Since moving, the mother engaged in a pattern of alienation that caused significant difficulty, both emotionally and physically, in the client’s relationship with his children. Just months after a permanent custody order was entered, the mother filed an application seeking sole physical and legal custody of the children, with limited, supervised visitation by the father. McManis Faulkner entered the case on the father’s behalf after two full years of discovery and litigation of the mother’s motion. Within a year, a global settlement was obtained that provided the client with significant additional parenting time and increased communication with the children. McManis Faulkner also obtained significant and numerous sanctions awards on behalf of the father for the mother’s misconduct throughout the custody case.
The stipulated agreement instituted a two-step alternative dispute resolution process, involving both co-parent counseling and co-parent coordination, to keep the parties from having to return to court. Under the terms of the agreement, the parties are to engage qualified mental health professionals to assist them in resolving any disputes that arose with respect to the children.
Previously the father’s role was limited to that of a “visiting parent,” spending time with the children only on weekends and school vacations. Since entry of the stipulated order, however, the father has had the opportunity to visit the children during the school week, and engage in their lives in a way that had been denied previously.