When Should You Settle or Litigate Your California Child Custody Case?

When Should You Settle or Litigate Your California Child Custody Case?

The best divorce and child custody attorneys know that the old adage “timing is everything” can be very true in contentious custody cases.

Matthew J. Sundly, attorney at Farzad Family Law
Matthew J. Sundly is an experienced child custody lawyer with Farzad Family Law.

There is a time and place for litigation and one for settlement and, sometimes, making sure the other parent knows you are dead serious about going to trial is the best way to get that right custody settlement. Here is a real life example from one of our top divorce attorneys, Matthew J. Sundly, an associate at Farzad Family Law.

Matthew, who is skilled and well-respected for his result-driven, reasonable and calm nature, faced a bitter and angry mother who was intend on alienating our client’s son from him.

The boy was only 4 years old when we got the case about a year ago. The problem was our client had not seen his son for about two years because the mother simply would not allow any contact.

She was the worse type of gatekeeper (the expression used for parents who treat their children like possessions that they refuse to share) and since our client could not afford and did not want a court battle with her, he kept trying to resolve the issues with her, all to no avail.

Now, some divorce attorneys in Orange County who got this set of facts would have probably told the client that he was screwed – by not having a relationship with his son and with this kind of mother, he would have a very difficult time building that relationship back up.

That is exactly the difference between them and the best ones. We respect the parent-child relationship too much to allow any parent to give up on their kids.

Matt Sundly filed a paternity action to immediately obtain custody and visitation orders. What do you think mother’s reaction was? If you guessed “furious”, you guessed right.

She would not allow any contact but we got it anyway from the Court. Our law firm obtained step-up orders that quickly progressed his visitation every couple of months, going from day visitations to overnight visitations, to full weekends Friday through Sunday and mid week visits. Like good child custody lawyers do, we pushed the case forward and would not allow mother to interfere with custody. Each time she tried (and boy did she try a lot), we held her accountable for her violations of the Court order and misconduct.

When we knew our client was ready for 50/50 visitation, we set the case for trial. Our client listened to our advice and maximized his time with his son, thereby creating a close bond and relationship with him. He, with the help of our family law team, built up the relationship he had lost.

Our work was not yet done. It was 50/50 or bust for us and bust was not going to happen.

The vindictive and angry mother starting to break. Through her lawyer, she even offered to our client to keep the current weekend arrangement and make it a final order – this was the same person who only recently would not allow ANY contact. We did not agree and our client was ready to go to trial.

Between that time and trial, mother’s case for sole custody had completely fallen apart. The child had bonded so much with the father that mother could no longer deny that the relationship was a critical part of his life.

Our Orange County divorce attorneys showed up to trial ready to get our client 50/50 custody. On the day of trial, the mother surrendered. Her attorney told Matthew Sundly that she would not fight any more and she would agree to a 50/50 timeshare arrangement and joint legal and physical custody.

How did this happen? Timing + hard work. We did not settle the case when we knew our client was not in a position of strength.

We did not allow the case to drag on or let the unreasonable parent have her way.

We pushed the case to trial, applied pressure and made sure our client’s bond with his child grew.

That is what the best divorce attorneys do – they understand that it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about doing the right thing for your client and the children. In this case, our lawyers, lead by Matthew Sundly, got our client the results he deserved and gave back the father-son relationship our client had lost. And we did this within our client’s budget.

Do you have a complex or contentious child custody case? Do you need experienced, skilled and compassionate divorce attorneys? Call us today. We will get your case on the right track.

About the Author

B. Robert Farzad

B. Robert Farzad is the president of Farzad Family Law, APC. Mr. Farzad is actively involved in the firm's divorce and parentage ca...
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