After issues on divorce, child custody is the next one to be worried about by most parents. Generally, in most States of America, the standard on custody arrangement always depends on the best interests of the child/children.
Moreover, to give you some heads-up, here are three of the frequently asked questions about child custody, including what should parents know and how they should deal with it.
Each parent possesses equal rights with regards to the custody of their children. However, it’s a different story when talking about which parent will have the sole custody if there’s no court order indicating the custody of a child or the children. The answer depends on the relationship status of the parents.
If there’s no court order and the parents of the child/children are married, then both parents have equal rights to the child/children unless the court will issue a custody order. Otherwise, if the parents are married to one another and have difficulties on agreeing about the custody of the child, one of them should file a divorce and/or get an order of the custody of the child/children from the court.
If the parents are already divorced, their divorce order should contain the name of the person who has the custody of the child. If one had received many court orders, they should follow the most recent one. One can get a copy of the most recent order from the court where they process their divorce papers.
If the parents are not married and have never been married, the biological mother of the children, regardless born outside of marriage, possesses the sole legal custody of them unless the court says otherwise, issuing an order that someone else has the custody of the child/children.
If the father wants to have the custody of the child/children, but there’s no court order, and he is not married to the mother, the father must build paternity to his child/children and ask the court for a custody order.
If a dangerous situation like the father will take away or not return the child/children from the mother, and they’re not married nor have court order, the mother should immediately call for help to the local police and make sure to mention the law stating that the mother has the custody or file a case in the court requesting for the return of the child.
The surviving parent will be considered the new guardian of the child/children after the death of the custodial parent. If the surviving parent is a father, paternity should be built physically and legally.
If the surviving parent is the father and is unmarried, he needs to sign an AOP or acknowledgment of paternity to have parental rights to a child legally. Otherwise, he’ll never have the right to a child.
A custodial parent cannot move with the child/children to another state or out of state without acquiring prior permission from the court. Doing so will jeopardize the rights of the custodial parents as well as interfere the rights of the non-custodial parent. If the
If the custodial parent moved the child/children without the court approval and non-custodial parent, the custodial parent would be charged by a judge with a contempt order, which will involve fines, jail time, and even a change to the custody arrangements that will be mostly in favor of the noncustodial parent.
A judge can approve the relocation of the child/children if both the custodial and non-custodial parents agree and as long as this change will meet the child/children’s best interests.
Both parents should sign a written agreement stipulating the consent of an out-of-state move and send it to the court. This agreement, which is called a stipulation or consent agreement, will become a court order after the judge approves it.
On the other hand, if both cannot agree, the parents should get mediation and look for a custody mediator or co-parenting counselor, who can help the parents to make the most favorable resolution. Otherwise, they should file a petition requesting the court to grant the parent’s wish of a relocation.
Losing parents is a heartbreaking situation. Children are considered the most vulnerable among all involved people at this time. If the loss of their parents is involved in a criminal case, the best decision is to ask experienced lawyers such as Michael Aed, the Legal AED Criminal Lawyer to avoid further issues that can emotionally and physically affect the children.
Written by: Attorney Michael Aed
- Attorney Aed started his career as a public defender, but after only nine months of successfully defending misdemeanor charges, like DUIs, for clients, he was promoted to felony assignments. Mr. Aed practices law in state and federal court. He was also included in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers list by The National Trial Lawyers.