The Law Offices of Abbas Hadjian, APC

Tag: Custody & Visitation

LOUISIANA: Right To Cultural Upbringing Belongs To Both Parents

Trial Court Erred In Awarding Right of Religious and Cultural Upbringing Solely to the Custodial Parent

Louisiana, March 10, 2010: D.R.S. (Father) and L.E.K. (Mother) were not married, but had a child. The family Court gave Mother physical custody, with sole right of determining religious and cultural  upbringing of the child. Father was  awarded visitation only. On appeal by the Father, Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit reversed.

The Court, in Case of D. R. S. v. L. E. K., Nos. 09-1274-09-1275, found “Though the custodial or domiciliary parent may raise the child in a legitimate religion of his/her own choosing, that parent may not force that religion or religious affiliation upon the noncustodial parent or preclude the noncustodial parent from pursuing his/her own religious affiliation and sharing same with the child provided doing so does not negatively affect the best interests of the child. There is no statutory nor jurisprudential authority to support the trial court’s ruling that the custodial or domiciliary parent has the sole authority to mandate “what belief system is presented to the child in . . . any home in which the child visits or resides.”

U.S. SUPREME COURT: Culture, Determinative Factor in International Child Abduction

Judges Must Avoid Imposing Their Own Cultural Preferences in Hague  Convention Disputes.

Washington, May 17, 2010: Mr. Abbott, British, married, Mrs. Abbott,  U.S. citizen, had a child, A.J.A.,  in Hawaii, and lived in Chile, where they got divorce. Under Chilean law, Mrs. Abbott received custody of A.J.A., and Mr. Abbott was granted the visitation with the right of stopping A.J.A. from leaving Chile without his permission (called “ne exeat”).

In violation, Mrs. Abbott removed A.J.A. from Chile to Texas, where Mr. Abbott (first through the State, and then the Federal Court for the Western District) sought to return A.J.A. under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Convention) and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), back to Chile.

Neither the State, nor the Federal District Court in Texas, sided with Mr. Abbott, that the “ne exeat” is a custody right. The U.S. States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed.

The United States Supreme Court in an opinion filed May 17, 2010,  disagreed and reversed. The Court in its opinion noted that  Mr. Abbott’s right to decide A. J. A.’s country of residence gives him rights to determine the shape of his early and adolescent years and his language, identity, and culture and traditions.

The Court found that few decisions are as significant as the language the child speaks, the identity he finds, or the culture and traditions she will come to absorb. The Court observed that “Judges must strive always to avoid a common tendency to prefer their own society and culture, a tendency that ought not interfere with objective consideration of all the factors that should be weighed in determining the best interests of the child. “

OHIO: Cultural Custody Requires Cultural Activities

Chinese Father Who Did Not Involve Child in Cultural Activities Cannot Complain From Adverse Custody Order

Ohio (July 10, 2010): Father, Chinese, appealed from a domestic relations division order denying him shared custody time with the eight year child of the marriage.  Father claimed that denial of custody time, limits his ability to introduce the child to the Chinese culture. In case of Kong v. Kong, Court Of Appeal Of Ohio for the Eighth Appellate District, County Of Cuyahoga, disagreed. The Court noted that Father failed to testify or provide evidence at trial showing that the child was participating in any cultural or heritage-based activities that would be curtailed as a result of an order denying shared parenting.

CALIFORNIA: Parenting Plan For Children Under 3

Assuming the infant is being cared for primarily in one parent’s home, the following are some examples of contacts by the non-residential parent.

BIRTH THROUGH AGE 6 MONTHS:  Three non-consecutive days per week for two hours each day. Many infants take multiple naps and require feeding every three or four hours during the day. If at all possible, time with the nonresidential parent should aim at not disrupting the infant’s nap and feeding pattern.

AGE 7 MONTHS THROUGH 12 MONTHS:  Three non-consecutive days per week for three hours each day. Overnight, if appropriate. If a parent has not been involved in care-giving previously, these short and frequent visits will help to develop a mutually secure relationship and allow the parent to master the tasks and sensitivity required to care for an infant. As the care-giving skills are mastered, the parent-child bond strengthens and the time with the infant may increase.

AGE 13 MONTHS THROUGH AGE 18 MONTHS:  Three non-consecutive days each week for three-four hours each day.  One weekend day for up to eight hours. Overnight, if appropriate. Children at this age still require a predictable and consistent daily routine. Communication between the parents about the infant’s routine and any new developments is essential to enhance the infant’s adjustment.

AGE 19 MONTHS THROUGH 36 MONTHS: One weekend day for ten hours. One mid-week for three hours. Overnight, if appropriate. Children of this age go through many changes, such as weaning from the bottle, toilet training, beginning pre-school, and adjusting to new siblings. Parents should avoid choosing a plan that requires the child to change routines frequently.

For further information, visit the Los Angles County Superior Court Website at: