I wrote back in January that Charlie Sheen’s latest brush with the law might have Southern California child custody implications somewhere down the line. Four months later it appears that prediction has come to pass. According to numerous media reports (many of them originating with the celebrity website TMZ) Sheen and his ex-wife Denise Richards signed a document last week granting Richards full California custody of the couple’s two daughters. According to the New York Daily News the new agreement will replace one which “grants Richards primary physical custody” and gives Sheen visitation rights. The paper reports that the document has not yet been submitted to California family law courts for approval.
Sheen’s tumultuous personal life took a turn for the worse on Christmas Day when he was arrested in Aspen and charged with assaulting his current wife, Brooke Mueller. Celebrity news site The Wrap reported last week that Sheen plans to plead guilty to felony domestic violence charges in relation to that incident. The site reports that Sheen’s lawyers are currently working out a plea deal with Colorado authorities. Meanwhile, Sheen and Mueller have reportedly been living apart since the altercation, but have not filed for an Orange County or Los Angeles divorce.
Reports that Richards approached Sheen seeking a modification of their custody agreement, and that Sheen agreed with relatively little fuss, are a useful reminder for less famous parents that California child custody and visitation agreements can be modified when the economic, legal or even emotional circumstances of one of both parents change in some serious way.
Had Sheen not agreed to the modification Richards could have taken the matter to court. It is in negotiating such modifications – and hopefully avoiding court, as Sheen and Richards appear to have done – that assistance from an Orange County custody and visitation lawyer is especially important. Acting as your advocate, a skilled Orange County family law attorney can work to ensure that your children get the time and relationship with you that they want and need. A Southern California divorce and custody lawyer can also help you consider whether – and when – modification of an existing custody agreement may be appropriate.
The Wrap: Sheen to Plead Guilty in Assault Case