Parenting Time/Custody

Custody/Parenting Time Actions

An important determination following a divorce or separation is custody of the children. Almost as important is the establishment of a visitation schedule that meets the needs of both parents and serves the best interests of the children.

Child custody determinations occur in matters of divorce and paternity. Custody grants rights and responsibilities to one or both parents to make major decisions concerning the child. Examples of major decisions are: consent to marry before eighteen, consent to enter military service before eighteen, consent to obtain a driver’s license, authorization for non-emergency healthcare, choice of school, and choice of religion. The determination of whether custody should be sole or joint is based on the best interest of the child. Custody may be determined by the court or through the agreement of both parties.

Paternity Adjudication

Paternity refers to a legal action to establish that a certain male is the father of a child. A paternity action may be brought in order to impose a child support obligation, establish a right to inheritance, secure consent for the child’s adoption, or gain custody or parental access rights. Establishing paternity may also be a critical contribution to a child’s sense of identity.

Representation of both men and women in paternity actions is often overlooked as a significant and complex area of family law. Paternity is the legal acknowledgment of the parental relationship between a father and his child. A paternity action can establish legal and physical custody, parenting time/visitation, child support and other financial aspects of the child’s support, including such things as health insurance and daycare.