As a matter of law, the rights of the natural father are the same as the rights of the natural mother. The guiding principle for all custody and visitation cases is what is in the best interests of the child. A time of divorce and/or custody is a very difficult time both emotionally and financially. The effect that a divorce or separation can have on a child can be devastating. These devastating effects are amplified when there is rivalry between the parents and the contact between the parents is not positive.
Accordingly, at Masorti & Donaldson, P.C., we work hard to maintain the delicate balance between doing what is in the best interests of the child, i.e., minimize conflict, while at the same time making sure the client's rights are protected. This balance can only be achieved by a thorough understanding of your goals and objectives.
As we all know, relocating (or moving) is a particularly stressful time for anyone. The relocation of one's home is an especially stressful time for children who crave continuity and familiarity. However, there may be very good reasons for a particular parent to move. We at Masorti & Donaldson, P.C. have experience in dealing with the situation in which one parent is required to move, either in-state or out of state. How to deal with this situation is determined on a case-by-case basis and the ultimate decision is "what is in the best interests of the child."
A parent who desires to move cannot do so arbitrarily. What are the advantages to moving? Are those advantages purely economical? Or are there other advantages to moving? What are the motives of the parent moving? What are the motives of the parent seeking to prevent the move? What is the availability of realistic, alternative visitation for the parent who is not moving? These and many more questions must be answered before a decision can be made regarding what is in the best interests of the child prior to relocating.
When a child is either conceived or born during marriage, the paternity of the child is presumed to be the husband. However, the father can rebut this presumption if he can show, by clear and convincing evidence, that he did not have access to his wife, or if he is impotent or sterile.
When a child is born out of wedlock, there still may exist a presumption of paternity if the parties subsequently marry, or if the father holds himself out to be the father by receiving the child into his home or providing support.
The amount of child support is calculated pursuant to a standard formula that every county in the state uses. The factors to be included in child support include, the monthly net income of each parent, the time each parent spends with the child, any additional expenses for the child such as child care and health insurance premiums. These factors become more complicated depending on the number of children and if the parents split custody of multiple children. Finally, child support obligations may vary if alimony or alimony pendent lite is being paid.
A grandparent may sue for visitation and partial custody rights of their grandchildren. The grandparents of children have the burden to prove that it is in the best interests of the child for periods of partial custody or visitation. This also means that the grandparents cannot interfere with the parent-child relationship.