Stranger than Fiction

We all watched the ‘big finale’ last Sunday night.

Firstly, Meryl Streep plays a grandmother.

However, in this show, the grandmother is depicted as threat to a mother’s custody of her children.

HBO’s series, ‘Big Little Lies’, depicts Mary Louise (Streep) trying to sue her daughter-in-law, Celeste, for child custody.

Of course, this threat of custody loss creates suspense within the show. 

Realistically, however, California courts complicate the removal of children from biological parents.

Additionally, they make it especially difficult for non-parents, even grandparents, to get custody.

Likewise, family law attorney, Laura Wasser, states:

‘“The chances of a family law attorney taking that case and actually prevailing are pretty low…

Grandparents do not have very many rights in the state of California. Biological parents have far more rights’

What are the rights of fathers and other parents in California?

-‘parentage’, or ‘paternity’ is the term used in dependency court to refer to children’s legal parents

-you may qualify without biological relation

-court is required to ask parents attending the first court hearing about the identity and location of anyone who could qualify as the child’s father/other parent

-additionally, the court must then send that person notice of future court hearings

-in dependency court, persons other than biological mothers are categorised as:

  1. Alleged parent
  2. Biological fathers
  3. Presumed parent

-rights of visitation vary between categories

-alleged parents have the fewest rights, whilst presumed parents have the most rights


Family is everything.

If you need assistance with family law, look at the services available at

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