Skip to main content
Cathleen Elisabeth Norton
Avvo
Pro

Cathleen Norton’s Answers

653 total


  • How do I get child support from run away ex (without a pre-court order)?

    When I got divorced back in 2006, the court didn't order child support from either parent, but we are to have 50/50 custody. The last day that my ex had the 2 children was 03-11-2011. After that he moved to AZ without a court order, I have asked (...

    Cathleen’s Answer

    If you failed to file for child support years ago, then you will not now be able to collect money for all the past time. If your daughter goes to live with her father, then depending on each parent's income, you may have to pay him support. Consult with a local family law attorney and he/she will run the numbers for you. In the meantime, I am including links below which will answer your question in greater detail. Good luck.

    See question 
  • Does the DA ever handle child support cases for arrears? Is there anyone to report the Dept of Child Support to?

    My ex is over 38,000 in arrears. It took over a year for the DCSS to even file a contempt charge and now its been another long year of continuances and the motion has still not gone forward. I feel that DCSS lets the non custodial parent get away ...

    Cathleen’s Answer

    I have heard from clients that Child Support Services drags their feet on a lot of things, but that is because they are simply overwhelmed with the case load they have. You would get far better results on child support enforcement with a private attorney. But that will cost a lot of money, especially if the non-custodial parent is being difficult. If you know where there is a source of money from which you can be paid, then your best bet is to hire a private family law attorney and pay out of pocket for his/her services. The other parent can't possibly stay "underground" forever. I mean, he's screwed if he ever files tax returns, wants to buy a house, etc. He can't file for bankruptcy, and if he ever gets a decent job, you can garnish his wages, intercept his tax returns, levy his bank account, put a lien on his home, etc. Your arrears will accumulate 10% interest per year so while I know things are tough making ends meet, you may get a big payday someday in the future for your children. Best of luck to you.

    See question 
  • WHAT FOR DO I USE?

    My mom is my daughter's childcare provider... she needs to complete court forms and provide to the court as proof..what forms does she use?

    Cathleen’s Answer

    There is no "form" to use. If you want to present evidence about how much child care costs you incur, then simply provide receipts for the monies you pay your mother along with a declaration stating that she watches your child during X days and times. Good luck.

    See question 
  • No income for 14 years now I want to move out and get an apt after starting divorce proceedings. How do I get an apt w/o income?

    Home with kids for about 15 years.

    Cathleen’s Answer

    Good question. It's not one that the family law courts can help much with, except that you can request spousal support and child support and put that down on your rental application. If you are able to work, then you should probably begin looking. It's best to speak with an attorney before you embark down this road--your decision should be based on sound advice, intelligent decision-making, and correct information. I am including links below so you can begin educating yourself on the process. Good luck.

    See question 
  • Father has not seen child for two years, should I leave it alone or change order to no visitation?

    Father hasn't seen daughter for two years. He lives literally a few streets away. He has just stopped due to his relationships. How long should I wait to change order? I want to move and he will make a big deal about it but he doesn't see her anyw...

    Cathleen’s Answer

    You would be in a much stronger position for a move-away if you had sole physical custody of the child so that weighs in favor of filing a Request for Order now. You may, however, open a can of worms you wish you hadn't, so it is best to speak with an experienced family law attorney to help you make that choice based on the specific facts of your case.

    Children who are 14 years and older have the right to address the court and express their wishes. The judge has discretion to allow children under 14 years to express their wishes (typically through the appointment of minor's counsel or through the evaluation process) if they are of sufficient age and capacity.

    The relevant statutes are cited here for your reference:
    3042. (a) If a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation, the court shall consider, and give due weight to, the wishes of the child in making an order granting or modifying custody or visitation.
    (c) If the child is 14 years of age or older and wishes to address the court regarding custody or visitation, the child shall be permitted to do so, unless the court determines that doing so is not in the child's best interests. In that case, the court shall state its reasons for that finding on the record.
    (d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to prevent a child who is less than 14 years of age from addressing the court regarding custody or visitation, if the court determines that is appropriate pursuant to the child's best interests.
    (e) If the court precludes the calling of any child as a witness, the court shall provide alternative means of obtaining input from the child and other information regarding the child's preferences.
    (f) To assist the court in determining whether the child wishes to express his or her preference or to provide other input regarding custody or visitation to the court, a minor's counsel, an evaluator, an investigator, or a mediator who provides recommendations to the judge pursuant to Section 3183 shall indicate to the judge that the child wishes to address the court, or the judge may make that inquire in the absence of that request. A party or a party's attorney may also indicate to the judge that the child wishes to address the court or judge.

    I am including links below which may be of some help in explaining the basics. Good luck!

    See question 
  • Ex with history of DV took children across state. no custody in place. how can I get them back ASAP?

    My ex left in January to avoid being served a DVRO. My kids have been with me since then. He drove in the middle of the night and took them, without my knowledge, 10-hours away (within the state). Without having custody in place how can I get the...

    Cathleen’s Answer

    You need to file an ex parte application for custody. Requesting ex parte custody orders requires that you show either 1) risk of abduction (which you have), or 2) risk of imminent harm to the children (which you may also have depending on the facts of you DVRO). Either way, doing nothing is not an option. If your county has a Child Abduction Unit as part of the DA's office, then you can request that the family law judge invoke their assistance. You will be requesting emergency sole legal and physical custody in your RFO. For more information on filing the Request for Order, I include a link below. If you can afford to hire an attorney, please do so. Time is of the essence. And you can't afford to make any mistakes procedurally or otherwise. Best of luck.

    See question 
  • Can my ex take the children as long as he wants when I have physical custody & we share joint custody, but no visitation sched?

    My ex and I did an uncontested divorce that gave me physical custody and we share joint custody. We don't have a visitation schedule written in. It's whatever we agree upon. He's telling me that he can take them whenever he wants, and I legally am...

    Cathleen’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You situation is typical--although you completed the divorce, the judgment did not specify a parenting plan. Now is the time to fix things. I am including links to model parenting plans, which should be used as a guideline only. Once you and the other parent agree to a fixed schedule, then you can have either an attorney draft an agreement for you or ask for assistance from your local family law facilitator's office. If you and the other parent cannot agree on a parenting plan, you will need to file a Request for Order re: visitation. Good luck.

    See question 
  • Do custody and visitation / parenting agreements have to be stamped by a judge?

    Can the father of the child and I (mother) create one and have it notorized? OR Does it have to be stamped by an attorney and/or judge? Which method makes it legally binding (if those are the correct terms)?

    Cathleen’s Answer

    An informal agreement is great, but it is not legally binding or enforceable unless it becomes a court order. In other words, if a problem arises later down the road, you can't call the police, for example, to say, "it's my custodial time, I want my child." The police will say, where's a copy of your court order? The school will say, where's a copy of your court order? The hospital will say "where's a copy of your court order?

    If you both agree to a custody and visitation plan, then what is the harm in making it a court order? You can hire a family law attorney to draft a Stipulation that both parents sign which is filed with the court. If you cannot afford an attorney, your local family law facilitator's office can help. Simple. No judge, no court appearances--just some paperwork. I am including links below which may be of some help. Good luck.

    See question 
  • What is the best visitation schedule for an infant, 7 months, who has severe separation anxiety, that a court will grant?

    7 month old infant who has severe separation anxiety. Infant is exclusively breast fed and will refuse bottles. Infant naps frequently during the day. Infant will cry after minutes of being away from primary care giver. Non custodial paren...

    Cathleen’s Answer

    Very good question. The answer is, it depends on who you ask. :)
    I am including links below for model parenting plans, including one for children under 3 years old. These are only guidelines, and every family's situation is different. No one knows your child like you do. Dad has short, frequent visits, which is typical for a child of this age. If the current plan is not working, then you may want to consider altering it with the non-custodial parent to suit the needs of child and be open to experimenting with different schedules to see what works best.

    See question 
  • Can i relocate my 2 year old son from California to Texas with me and my husband.

    My husband is relocating to Texas for a new job and i want to fight for full custody of my 2 year old child with his father..

    Cathleen’s Answer

    If there is an open family law case anywhere in California, you cannot move with the child absent a court order or consent from the other parent. Move-away requests are extremely difficult and you would be best served by retaining an experienced family law attorney if you can afford to do so. When consulting with a new attorney, make sure you provide your case number, the final judgment and/or most recent custody orders. I am including links below which may be of some help. Good luck.

    See question