Parents who are not married may find themselves in somewhat complex custody arrangements, especially if both parents have a custody interest in the child. Sometimes, parents are separated and must arrange custody agreements that work for the both of them, as well as the child. This may lead to a custody battle between the two. Other times, the parents remain unmarried but completely amicable, and may even be together under the same roof. In these types of cases, custody between the two parents is not as much of an issue, but certain steps should be taken under law to ensure that the child receives the full benefits of a two parent household. In either case, there are laws that govern how custody must be worked out between the parties. Depending on the situation, these matters can become complicated.
A "custody battle" is a phrase that comes up frequently whenever anyone discusses Family Law. The name often invokes unpleasant imagery and bitter struggles, however, in reality, a custody battle is simply the term for the process of trying to determine custody between two parents who have different views on how custody should be settled. A custody battle can involve both parents trying to gain the court's favor on a certain aspect pertaining to custody arrangements, or it can be as serious as one parent trying to completely prevent the other parent's access to the child altogether. In either case, the court will render a decision according to its own county guidelines.
However, even once the court renders a decision, the custody battle may not be over. Custody agreements may always be modified depending on certain circumstances. Much like the initial agreements, modifications have their own special processes with each respective county. Modifications must usually have some evidentiary basis in order for the request to be granted, however, these can be difficult to show in court. With an attorney at one's side, negotiating a custody agreement will be a much less intimidating process.
Unmarried Parents Who Live Together
When unmarried parents live together, all may be well in terms of amicability and the actual process of caring for the child. Unmarried parents may live together and care for a child with ease. Unfortunately, the law is not as simple. Legal parenthood of a child requires more than caring for them and having them in one's household. Without legal parenthood of a child, unmarried parents may run into issues proving paternity and ensuring that the child has proper access to government benefits or healthcare. Also, when unmarried parents file their taxes each year, having a child between the two of them may complicate the process, atypically only one parent may claim the child as a dependent on their filing.
The simplest solution to these matters is most often to go through adoption procedures for the child. An example of situation that can affect unmarried parents is when a mother has legal parenthood of a child and her partner, male or female, does not. The solution here would be an adoptions process. If both natural parents have acknowledged their legal responsibilities as parents, then an adoption is likely unnecessary, but if for whatever reason one of the two parents does not have legal parenthood of a child, then adoption would be the quickest and easiest solution. Unfortunately, adoption itself is another legal process that can be confusing. Adoption may also be necessary even if the parents decided to marry to ensure that the child has access to benefits from both parents.
When a parent is left alone with the child, and the other parent seems to have no interest or intent to care for or assist in the care for a child, certain legal measures may be taken. The parent taking care of the child may request support through a court order, forcing the absent parent to provide child support or possibly even arranging custodial duties for them if necessary. Other options may include the absent parent's voluntary termination of parenthood, or possibly the initiation of involuntary parenthood termination procedures. In some cases, the grounds for involuntary termination of parenthood may already be present, and the custodial parent may simply eliminate the other's parental rights with the help of an attorney. Other times, it may be necessary to seek support. With the help of an attorney, navigating the courtroom will be a much less confusing process.
The court of Family Law can be confusing, especially for parents who are undergoing procedures either by themselves, or for the first time. In any case, matters of Family Law can be greatly simplified with the help of an attorney. Marriage and parenthood do not always need to go hand in hand, however, your child's interests must be protected. If you or a loved one is engaged in matters of Family Law, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.