Child Custody

Pasadena Child Custody Attorney & Mediator

Make the Best Decisions For You and Your Children


Parents are encouraged to reach an agreement between them concerning the custody arrangements of their children. If they are unable to do so, a custody order may be made by the court. In 90% of cases in the United States where parents have decided not to parent together, they are able to agree on a parenting plan and timeshare agreement. In California, these issues are referred to as child custody and visitation. Mr. Baer prefers not to use such terms because they are considered fighting terms. However, the remaining 10% of cases where a court is involved can be devastating for parents, children, the extended families, and even for professionals involved in their cases.

Because of the high potential that a custody battle can have long-lasting negative impact on children, most states have instituted as many safeguards against that possibility as possible. In general, all child custody decisions are to be based on "the best interests of the children."

Sole custody arrangements may consist of exclusive custody, meaning both legal and physical custody for one parent, sole physical custody, in which the child resides with and is supervised by one parent, or sole legal custody, in which one parent has the right to make decisions about the child's health, education, and welfare.

Joint custody arrangements consist of pure joint custody in which both parents care for and make decisions about the child, joint legal custody, where both parents have the right and responsibility to make decisions about the child's welfare, and joint physical custody, where the child lives with both parents at various times in a worked-out plan.

Generally speaking, shared parenting of some sort is in the children’s best interest. According to Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D., there is no evidence that parental conflict is any different in primary custody situations versus shared custody situations. In other words, don’t avoid shared custody arrangements because of parental conflict, especially since the research shows that children are more satisfied and excel in shared custody situations. Shared Parenting is not necessarily Equal Parenting. Shared Parenting is anything from 33% to 50% timeshare. Equal Parenting is 50%. There is little doubt that children are more satisfied and excel when they are loved and cared for by both parents in a shared parenting arrangement.

The fact that so many parents seem incapable of considering the welfare of their children, especially during and after the dissolution of their romantic relationship with their co-parent, is an ongoing theme throughout Mr. Baer’s writings. He consistently hears parents and their advocates argue that ‘the rights of the state are subordinate to the rights of fit parents.’ The key terms and phrases involving such ‘parental rights’ are as follows: ‘fit parents,’ ‘fitness,’ ‘unsuitable persons to be entrusted with their care, control, and education, or when some exceptional circumstances appear which render such custody inimicable to the best interests of the child,’ and ‘parent properly nurtures, maintains, and cares for the child.’ Clearly, people have very different definitions for such terms and phrases, so obviously that is an extremely subjective standard.

It is worth noting that the American Bar Association has long been aware of the connection between custody battles and an increase in domestic violence. In fact, as many as 50 percent of disputes relating to child custody involve domestic violence. Forcing suffering people to endure frustrated expectations and prolonged ambiguity, as the family law system routinely does, is unquestionably – if passively – malignant, and can be a real trigger for violent behavior. As Mr. Baer keeps saying, outcomes are determined by the way in which the "game" is designed.

The American legal system unintentionally aggravates conflict in divorce situations, even though models that are designed to reduce conflict – such as mediation, and other collaborative approaches – are available as alternatives.

Parents need to understand that what they do, say, and how they act toward the other parent has long-term consequences. The things people do with or without the assistance of their attorneys, have consequences that will last for generations to come. Since divorce is a fact of life, all we can do is to make it a less destructive process.


While there may be disagreement regarding whether or not divorce in and of itself is damaging to children, no reasonable person can disagree that the way in which people divorce plays a significant role. All the top researchers in the field have come to the conclusion that it is the way in which people divorce (including what they do or don't tell their children) and the parental conflict that damages children.

It is a grim reality that those who choose to use the traditional system of litigating divorce through family court will continue to face situations that exacerbate, rather than allay, the great pain and stress of splitting a couple or family. And some of them, tragically, will resort to violence. Even if someone does not resort to violence, does that mean that they were not harmed?

Ripping families apart just because the marriages are over has severe and lasting consequences to the former spouses, their children, the family, future generations of that family and society as a whole.

The power of words has long been recognized in adages such as, "the pen is mightier than the sword." Whether spoken or written, language is tremendously forceful, whether for building up or tearing down. In the course of any divorce litigation, words are employed to craft correspondence, declarations and pleadings, designed to coerce a settlement, or otherwise persuade a judge to the client's favor. Outcomes are often determined by the way in which the "game" is designed. As the Bible says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

Mark Baer has written extensively on this subject. Four of his many articles on the topic are " Is the Adversary Model Appropriate or Suitable for Family Law Matters?", " The Waiting Game," " The Perfect Storm: Lawyer Limitations and the Adversarial Model in Family Law," and " Family Law Litigation: The Gift That Keeps On Giving!"

Custody Lawyer in Pasadena, California

Mr. Baer is a skilled both as a family law attorney and as a mediator, and has the honors and awards to support it. He understands that there is no single solution to resolving issues pertaining to parenting plans and timeshare arrangements because each situation comes with its own unique set of challenges and demands. Whether he is acting in his capacity as a mediator or as an attorney, he is recognized for his ability to capture the essence of a conflict and his aim to help people resolve it, right from the start. You can rely on him to utilize his vast array of information and knowledge well beyond the law itself, to assist you in accomplishing your desired result. He prides himself on the personalized service he provides that is both child-centered and psychologically-minded. Because of his extensive experience and his dedication to finding practical and effective solutions for his clients, he has much to offer anyone seeking answers, strategies, and actions which will resolve these types of issues.

As a Pasadena family law attorney and mediator, Mr. Baer can assist you with regard to parenting plans and timeshare arrangements pertaining to your children. He has successfully helped a great many individuals and couples resolve issues pertaining to their children.

Need legal help with child custody? Contact Pasadena custody attorney and mediator Mark B. Baer to discuss your situation today!