Tips for Altering a Custody Arrangement

Can Your Legal Marijuana Use Impact Your Child Custody Or Visitation Case?

Marijuana laws are changing all over the country, with more than 20 states legalizing the use and possession of marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes. The changes in the laws are also having an unintended effect in family court, as well. Now, your completely legal use of marijuana can actually endanger your rights to visitation or custody of your child. What’s In The Best Interests Of The Child? When courts decide child custody issues they have to consider what’s in the “best interests” of the child. What exactly that means, however, is somewhat vague and can vary drastically from court to court and case to case. Judges are allowed to consider: domestic violence concerns the wishes of the parents the living conditions of each parent the parent’s ability to care for the child the child’s age, physical, and mental health the relationship (or lack of one) between parent and child the child’s wishes (if he or she is old enough to express them) the mental and physical health of the parent evidence of any child abuse or neglect The court can also simply decide that your marijuana use is important when deciding whether or not to give you custody or visitation because judges have very broad discretionary powers when it comes to deciding what is and is not relevant in child custody cases. Can Your Marijuana Use Be Considered Child Abuse Or Neglect? In a variety of cases across the country, the legal use of marijuana by parents has been brought into court as evidence of child abuse and neglect. In some cases, it’s a vindictive ex-spouse that’s bringing the issue up, and in other cases it’s been brought up by schools or other concerned individuals. In some cases, the issue is resolved without any undue prejudice against the legal use of the drug. In other cases, however, parents haven’t been so lucky. The problem for parents who use marijuana is that marijuana has a mixed legal status no matter where you possess it. While state laws may allow its possession and use for either medical or recreational purposes, federal laws still treat marijuana as an illegal drug. That makes possessing it while your children are in your home illegal – and judges can consider that a form of recklessness or an inability to put your children’s needs ahead of your own. For many judges, that alone is enough to be […]

Important Facts About The Different Types Of Child Custody

If you are a parent of a minor child, you have the legal and moral obligation to contribute financially and physically to their upbringing in virtually every situation. It is crucial to understand the different types of custody and how they will pertain to you. Fortunately, there are several types and sub-types of custody today. What Is Sole Physical Custody? When you have sole physical custody of your child, it means that you are exclusively granted the right to make all decisions for the child, including those pertaining to their education, health and socialization. You will not need to consult with the other parent about those decisions. In addition, the child lives with you, although the other parent may be given supervised or unsupervised visitation.   In this context, you will be known as a “Primary Custodian” for your child.  What Is Joint Custody? Joint custody can include several different arrangements. Both parents have time with the child. This option differs from sole custody in that both parents usually have to agree on major parenting decisions. In recent years, shared custody has become a more common situation. It is also not unusual for parents to be required to get permission from the other parent to move out of the area or state, due to the difficulties of maintaining equal visitation over long distances.  Is Alternating Custody Right For You? Alternating custody is a type of joint custody. It is often an ideal choice when both parents live in the same area. It offers a more evenly divided period of time with the child for each parent and can have a dramatic impact on the need for or amount of child support. It can be described as a more precise division of time and frequently allows the child with to spend half the week with one parent and the rest of the week with the other. Alternating custody may also be known as divided custody and is useful because while the child is in your custody, you have the sole right to the parenting decisions. The other parent has that right during their time with the child. What About Shared Custody? Shared custody is almost identical to alternating custody. Two differences are that you and the other parent will need to agree on major decisions for the child and there may not always be a 50/50 split for custodial time with […]

Examples Of Custodial Interference, And Possible Remedies From The Court

If you have been awarded your child’s custody or visitation, then it is only the court that can deny you this right. However, there are situations in which the other parent may act in a manner that bars you from visiting your child—this is referred to as custodial interference. This interference can take several forms, for example: Refusing a visit – consider an example where you are meant to have the child from Friday evening to Monday morning, but when Friday comes, the other parent refuses to let him or her leave. Restricted telephone contact – your former partner restricts your phone calls with the child to certain hours of the day. This may not be explicit; for example, he or she may always give you an evasive answer when you call to talk to the child. Keeping the child past the scheduled time – it may not be a big issue if it happens once or twice because unavoidable circumstances may create such problems. However, if he or she is always returning the child later than the scheduled times, then he or she is interfering with your custody. Encouraging the child to stay away – sometimes the parent may work indirectly to keep the child from you. For example, he or she may promise the kid gifts if he or she stays away from you, or threaten him or her if he makes contact with you. If you are experiencing any of these problems, then you should desist from taking the matter into your hands, for example, by taking the child away forcefully. Rather, you should contact your lawyer to petition the court for a remedy. Some of the possible solutions that the court may offer include: Makeup time – this directive gives you additional time, apart from the original schedule, to spend with your child. It may not be exactly the same duration that you were denied, but it should be comparable to this lost time. Change of primary custody – if you can prove active interference from the other parent, then you may succeed in getting primary custody of the child. Fines and fees – these may be levied if there has been repeated and serious violations of the custody or vitiation order. Third party visits – the court may also involve a third party in your dealings to ensure that vitiation runs according to the appointed […]

Getting Unhitched? Choose Your Divorce Attorney With Care

You should never go into a marriage with your exit strategy already on your mind, but sometimes you have no other option but to consider divorce. If you find that your marriage is in shambles, divorce might be the best path for all of those involved. Because divorce most likely is not something that you do everyday, you should consider hiring a divorce attorney, and because your divorce will have an important impact on the rest of your life, you should carefully consider who you hire to be your lawyer. Lawyer or Mediator? If you do not have children or a lot of assets, then you may not need a lawyer to handle your divorce. Sometimes all you need is a mediator. Staying out of courtrooms and away from litigation can help you to keep your costs down while still arriving at a divorce scenario that will work for both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you don’t think that mediation is right for you, but you still want to stay out of the courtroom, then you should consider a collaborative divorce, which is designed to arrive at a workable co-parenting relationship.  Headed to the Courtroom If you think that traditional litigation is the only option that will work for you, you need to be very careful about which lawyer you pick. You should start by interviewing three different lawyers to try to find one that will work well for your situation. When you interview a lawyer, pay attention to warning signs. For example, if your lawyer barely has time between answering emails and phone calls to listen to your interview, then chances are that they will have a hard time focusing on your case. You should also screen your potential lawyers to make sure they have experience with cases like yours. Don’t be afraid to research all you can about your lawyer before you go into your interview. The more you know about your lawyer, the better able you are to make a good decision. If you are thorough with your vetting process, you can avoid the unfortunate circumstance of finding out partway through your divorce that your lawyer is not right for you.  When you are faced with the need to end a marriage, you need to be sure that you don’t rush into it. Taking time to weigh your options before you start divorce proceedings will give […]