Child Custody, Support and Visitation
Child custody is one of the most argued aspects in law today. It involves which parent has custody of a child when a couple separates or gets a divorce. Child custody battles occur in courts everyday across the United States. A child custody battle could also occur between the birth parents of a child and the child's grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousin, or older brother or sister. Child custody defines who is responsible for making the important decisions in a child's life and the guardian's duty to care for the child.
In child custody cases, usually resulting from annulment and divorce cases, a judge must decide who is better fit to care for and provide for a child. When the judge decides who is the better choice, the custody will be awarded to that person and the child will then live with that person until they are of legal age and can move out on their own.
In these types of cases, when the litigation is still taking place, parents that are divorced or are in the process of divorcing, will usually use cut throat tactics to win the child custody battle in court over the other parent. That can include sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, brain-washing, parental alienation syndrome, sabotage, and manipulation. All of these tactics are used by one or both parents against the other in a court of law to prove to the judge that the other parent is unfit to care for the child and to have custody of the child.
Along with child custody, other laws in caring for children involve child support. Child support occurs more often than not in divorce cases and cases of having a child out of wedlock. A parent of a child will take the other parent to court looking for child support from the other parent. Before one parent has to pay child support, there will be a paternity test taken to make sure that the person that will pay the support is the actual father of the child in question. If not, they will not have to pay the support.
Child support is a form of payment that is paid to the other parent involved in the situation every so often. The amount of child support paid to the other parent varies with each individual case and if not paid can result in a jail term. There have been people sent to jail for periods of time because they did not pay their required child support to the other parent.
Child support is used to help pay for the child's education, clothing, food, and other necessities. Sometimes, but not often, child support may supplement alimony. Alimony is also known as spousal support.
The final piece of family law discussed here is visitation and visitation rights. Visitation rights are the rights of a parent to visit with their child even though they might not live together as a family anymore.
Visitation usually occurs after a divorce, annulment, separation, or dissolution. The court will award one parent either full custody or partial custody and the other parent will either have to see their child through visitation rights or by having partial custody of their child.
Visitation rights involve one parent having custody of their child for a week at a time or every weekend. Usually with child custody battles and visitation rights battles, one parent will have the child during the week and the other parent will have the child during the weekend. Holidays also fall into visitation rights. A couple will share holidays, usually alternating them, to make sure each parent has their fair share of the child during special days of the year.
Visitation rights are considered a privilege in the United States and if a parent that has visitation rights violates any terms of the contract or does something that warrants him or her unfit to care for the child then they will lose their visitation rights. Aside from parents, grandparents can also be involved in visitation cases.
The Firm has considerable experience in these matters in Northumberland County, Snyder County, Union County, Montour County, Lycoming County, Clinton County, Tiaoga County, Bradford County, Lycoming County, and throughout the state.
For More Information
- American Psychological Association
- Child Custody and Family Law
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services