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Badge - Universite Paris, Pantheon Sorbonne, Ecole de Droit de la Sorbonne
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Family Law

Maintaining and Ensuring That the Best Interests of Children is Assured

A Personal Statement:

At the age of 18, 40 years ago, in the United Kingdom, many years before I became a lawyer, I entered a two-year childcare and child development program at Ware College, Hertfordshire, England. The program has proven to be of immense value in the way I approach issues affecting children as a Family Lawyer serving San Diego and as Minor’s Counsel, such as, planning for children, custody and visitation issues.

One of the insights I gained so many years ago is that the quality of parenting during a child’s formative years can have a significant impact on a child’s outcome during childhood and beyond. This does not exclude significant pre-birth impacts. Parenting during these early developmental years are critical in a child’s life.

The quality and content of parenting a child receives will affect and shape a child’s life beyond their formative years including the way a child sees the world, sees herself/himself in it, develops a sense of childhood and adult resilience and whether the child sees her/his parents as a source of security and support.

A child’s perception of these matters are largely developed during their formative years, how they were taught to feel about what they observed, whether they were treated compassionately, whether they had a voice at home, what views were or were not acceptable at home, parental expectations and whether their observations of their parents raised questions about consistency of parental word and deed; and, critically, the meaning of trust, whether the child can trust her/his parents, and considerations affecting how and/or why the child may bestow the virtue of trust upon another.

It is often the case that a parent may say something negative about the other parent in the presence of child or under conditions they perceive to be outside the child’s presence. Parents are frequently surprised that the child was able to hear and echo the negative views expressed by one or both parents or that the child was able to understand, in a more nuanced way, negative views expressed in so-called coded language. To a child, the message is loud and clear; and, it is either a green light to be positive about the other parent, or it is a bold red flag to treat the other parent with disdain, dislike, disrespect, as untrustworthy, with fear or even in the child’s view, hate. On the other hand, positive messages between parents overheard by a child or to the child can create a life-long sea-change in a child’s perception of each parent, both individually and as two loving, caring parents. This is the goal – the prize you must seek for your child. A well-balanced, caring individual that you present to the world.

Maintaining Your Child’s Best Interests, no Matter What

As a San Diego Family Lawyer, I know that a major change in your family dynamics can affect a child, particularly during their formative years. A prominent example of such a change occurs when both spouses or one spouse decide(s) to get a divorce. Ultimately, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will live in separate homes while continuing to co-parent your minor children. The decision to live separately and apart will have a huge effect on your children.

Your child(ren) will want to be assured that the fact mom and dad have decided to end their marriage does not and should not mean that either mom or dad are divorcing their children. The child(ren) need and should be reassured that the divorce is not “their fault.” However, this is the message they sometimes walk away with if you do not take the opportunity to sit down and talk about the divorce with your children in a calm child-centered manner. Your children will want to be assured of your love and support for them regardless of mom and dad’s divorce. In some cases, you may want to discuss this issue with a trained professional such as a therapist who is skilled to guide you both in the discussion with your children, depending on the age and functioning of your child. There is no “one size fits all approach.” A lot depends on your child. However, it has been my experience that children want to know what their parents’ separation, and ultimately their divorce, will mean for them and how it will impact their lives. Professional therapists are a good source of advice on how to assist your children to transition during this time of change.

The best interests of your child(ren) must be your paramount consideration. That means you are required to put your child’s health, welfare and educational interests first.

As a precondition to establishing a client/attorney relationship with me, I will want to obtain assurances from you that the best interests of your child(ren) will be paramount.

Client Reviews
I am very grateful to Denise Oxley for her help in resolving a very difficult family law situation. She was very professional and knowledgeable. She listened to all of my concerns and always found a successful outcome to the proceedings. Her correspondence and responses were timely and focused on the problem. I always felt prepared to stand in the court room and face the Judge’s decision. Thank you, Denise, for your help. I highly recommend her. Lana
A very highly respected individual first and foremost. As a lawyer, well...her opponent's fear her in a court of law due to her knowledge base, experience, diligence, and most of all commitment. A colleague once said, "I want to introduce you to Denise Oxley. You need her because she is in it for the long haul." At some time in our lives we all have to sit in the defendants/plaintiffs chair. Denise Oxley will give you strong representation. Remember, knowledgeable, experienced, diligence, committed. Stellar qualities dealing with sensitive lives! T. L. Holman
My family encountered one of the most difficult situations of our lives when my son's girlfriend decided to take the kids away from their father and our entire family. We are a very close family so this affected us all. My son hired Denise Oxley to represent him in family court and that was the beginning of our healing process. Denise is very personal, a great professional and very knowledgeable. She was very interested in helping my son and I could tell that she really cares. Thanks to Denise, my son now has close to 40% of custody after just having one weekend a month I feel very lucky to have Denise on our side. Ana