• January 2020

    Finding Common Ground in Parental Disagreements

    Finding Common Ground in Parental Disagreements By Bob Derber and Judge Paul Marigonda Parents who co-parent well may still encounter issues they cannot agree upon in raising their children. You might agree 90% of the time, but are stuck on that ‘one issue’ where resolution is difficult. Perhaps it is a summer vacation schedule, or a child who wants to participate in a sport that give you pause.  You know the worst outcome is conflict – as parental conflict always negatively impacts the children. What can you do? An incredible resource our Superior Court offers is Family Court Services mediation.  You may have used this resource when you were navigating…

  • divorce on a budget
    November 2019

    Divorce on a Budget

    Divorce on a Budget By Bob Derber and Judge Paul Marigonda Many people want to divorce but think they can’t afford it. Attorneys are not cheap.  If you have limited assets and can agree about most matters – property division and issues surrounding the children – you have low-cost alternatives. One alternative is our Superior Court’s free Self-Help Center, which can guide you through the divorce process. Center staff can’t give you legal advice, but they can help you through the process which can be confusing.  If you have been there already, you know their time is limited, and you might consider a more personal approach. If you and your…

  • domestic violence santa cruz
    June 2019

    The Worst Day for a Family Lawyer, Addressing Domestic Violence

    The Worst Day for a Family Lawyer, Addressing Domestic Violence By Bob Derber and Judge Paul Marigonda At times, being a Family Law attorney can really suck.  Today is one of those days. What do you do when a parent threatens the health and safety of their child?  Where does the other parent turn for help? The challenge can be drug or alcohol addiction, physical violence, sexual abuse, or neglect.  The child can be 4 or 14.  The result is often not obvious but is always devastating.  The mental and emotional impact of abuse on a child can last a lifetime.  And yet to the child, the offending parent is…

  • santa cruz family law bob derber
    May 2019

    Communicating with the Ex

    Communicating with the Ex By Bob Derber When dealing with an ex (or to-be ex), always: 1. Be polite and civil; 2. Communicate in writing; 3. Discuss only the children, support or property, and 4. Never delete past communications This should be obvious, but often it is not. Emails and text messages can end up in court when custody battles erupt. Matters may become strained at any time, especially when the children are involved. Perhaps a parent wants to move away, or a child wants to join in an activity you cannot agree upon. Disagreements about the children often spill over into other areas. You may be a strong parent…

  • family therapy for divorce
    April 2019

    Don’t Undermine the Other Parent

    Don’t Undermine the Other Parent By Bob Derber Children are often drawn into parental disputes. One parent may speak poorly of the other parent in front of the children. It can be subtle and unintended, i.e., when a parent ‘apologizes’ to the child for restrictions imposed at the other parent’s home. In all events, speaking negatively about the other parent is detrimental to the child, and in the extreme, is a recognized form of child abuse. Divorce and separation are difficult for children of every age. Parents and family define their world and represent love and safety. Even older children who prefer to spend more time with friends than parents…

  • religion and divorce
    March 2019

    I’m Jewish, my Ex is Catholic, What About the Kids!

    I’m Jewish, my Ex is Catholic, What About the Kids! By Bob Derber What do you do when you and your ex have different parenting policies? Bedtime at your house is 9 p.m., but 10 p.m. in your ex’s home. You permit ‘PG’ rated movies, your ex says ‘G’ only. Possibly it’s more basic. You are Jewish and your ex is Catholic. You each want the children to adopt your faith. Divorced parents face such issues daily. House rules, educational and extracurricular decisions, computer access and age-appropriate media are typical concerns. When household rules differ, children often use one parent’s rules to ‘play’ off the other. ‘But dad lets us…

  • family court santa cruz
    February 2019

    Stay Civil: How to Get a Judge to Issue an Order You Like

    Stay Civil: How to Get a Judge to Issue an Order You Like By Bob Derber The feedback from last month’s column was incredible. There are divorced parents who do collaborate! It’s so important for the kids. We welcome Judge PaulMarigonda, one of our two Family Court judges, to the column. He will contribute information from theother side of the bench. Last month we stressed that it is best to reach a parenting agreement with your ex rather than ask the court for a decision. That is critical. But, if you must ask a judge for help, be careful! Our judges have hundreds of cases every month. Santa Cruz has…

  • January 2019

    Thinking Twice Before You Take Family Matters to Court

    Think Twice Before You Take Parenting Matters to Court By Bob Derber So there’s drama with your parenting relationship on how to raise your children. You have both lawyered up and are headed to court. BUT LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP! This often occurs after the holidays. Drama abounds when you navigate who has the children on Christmas, care over school breaks and scheduling winter trips. If you are reading this, you survived, but possibly not unscathed. When parents collide, you may ask a judge to make decisions on matters best left to parents. The judge has no intimate knowledge, as you have, about your children. At your first court visit,…

  • christmas and divorce
    December 2018

    How to Handle the Holidays Through Divorce

    How to Handle the Holidays Through Divorce By Bob Derber For newly separated parents and for veterans of divorced parenting, the holidays always present challenges for mom and dad. Perhaps you have a custodial order in place that specifies when each parent has the children during holidays.   These orders sometimes only address the day of the holiday itself and not the entire vacation period. Often, the order was made long ago and does not account for current circumstances. Holiday family visits and travel opportunities may conflict with your order. It is also a time of parent-teacher conferences and holiday school events, like a Christmas play, where separated parents will…