Custody is the charge and control of a child, including the right to make all major decisions such as education, religious upbringing, training, health and welfare. Custody usually refers to a combination of physical custody and legal custody. Many factors influence an award of custody and the way a case is presented in court can have a large impact on the result for you and your children. If you are awarded the children as a primary custodial parent, it has far reaching consequences both to you and to their well-being and development.
Child support is a periodic payment made to a custodial parent from a non-custodial parent to help compensate a child's living expenses, i.e. food, clothes, etc., and any other related debts. When one parent is awarded sole custody, as in the event of a divorce, the non-custodial parent is required to fulfill his or her child support obligation by making set payments, whereas the custodial parent meets his or her support obligation through the custody itself. When parents are awarded joint custody in a divorce, however, the support obligation is shared and is based on a ratio of each parent's income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. The obligation to support minor children cannot be waived by either parent and is a right enjoyed by the child, not the parent. Each state has guidelines that factor the amount of child support, such as the amount of time spent with the child, the income of both parents and the standard of living the child is accustomed to. The court may allow deductions for items such as catastrophic medical expenses and travel expenses for visitation.
When faced with a relocating custodial parent, the court will general require that parent to give the other parent a minimum amount of notice prior to the anticipated move. This notice gives the non-custodial parent an opportunity to go to court and seek orders restraining the relocation of the child.These so-called move away cases have gone back and forth on allowing and disallowing a move by the custodial parent with the minor children for over 20 years. While the best interests of the child have always been central to the decision, the uncertainty has made this area murky. Prior to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, when parents sought an advantage in a custody tug-of-war, they would move to a "friendly" jurisdiction (that is, a region with a history of rulings favorable to their position). However, after the UCCJA was adopted by all 50 states, family law courts were forced to defer jurisdiction to the home state, and this custody battle tactic lost favor.
Spousal Support (Alimony):
Alimony is temporary or permanent financial support paid from one separated spouse to the other, either in one lump sum or in installments. Alimony is designed to provide the lower-income spouse with money for living expenses over and above the money provided by child support. Alimony differs from child support because it is at the discretion of the judge. Child support is usually determined by state-sanctioned guidelines.There are several factors a judge considers when deciding whether to grant alimony. These differ from state to state, of course, but they usually involve things like the parties' relative ability to earn money, both now and in the future; their respective age and health; the length of the marriage; the kind of property involved, and the conduct of the parties. In general, about the only time a judge will award alimony in most states is where one spouse has been economically dependent on the other spouse for most of a lengthy marriage.
Adoption is the legal process by which a person becomes a lawful member of a family different from their birth family. Once a final order of adoption has been ruled by a court of law, the adoptive parents gain the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them; subsequently, an adopted child gains the same rights as birth children in regard to inheritance, child support and other legal matters. In most U.S. jurisdictions, at the time the adoption is finalized, the adopted child's name is legally changed and the court orders the issuance of a new, amended birth certificate.
Paternity covers all the matters related to proving the parentage of a child or children. For married couples, paternity of a child is assumed to be the spouse, unless there is a court order or judgment stating otherwise. For unwed parents, paternity can be established by signing an Affidavit of Parentage or by filing a paternity action with the court.Legally establishing paternity or determining that someone is not the parent of child can have a significant impact on divorce settlements, property division, child custody, child support and the ability to move out of state. Determinations of paternity can also have a significant impact on interstate conflict between unwed parents.If you or someone you know in San Diego or Riverside County is involved in a divorce or child custody issue and needs the assistance of an experienced Temecula Family Law Attorney, call Julie Page today at (951) 699-8899, or complete the contact form provided on this site to schedule your initial consultation.