Family Law Attorneys
Although we typically think of child custody as an issue faced by married and non-married couples, when the relationship ends, there are many other circumstances that can give rise to a custody action. A family law attorney can help you if you are fighting to retain custody of your child or seeking to gain custody of a child whether you are the biological parent or related to the child in some other way and have a legitimate reason for seeking custody.
Although divorce is the most legally straight-forward situation giving rise to custody issues, it can be very contentious and complicated. Even when parents can put the child first and fully agree on custody terms, the court may not agree with your parenting plan. A family law attorney can help you draft an acceptable parenting plan or fight for a custody agreement that you feel is best for your child.
For unmarried couples, things can be more complicated. If you are both legally recognized as parents of the child it is typically handled as it would be if you were married. But, if you are not the legal parent, you may have few or no rights, even if you have played a large role in raising the child and even if you were the primary caregiver for many years.
In some states an unmarried mother automatically has full custody of the child unless the father petitions the court for custody rights, even if the father has been ordered to pay child support.
Just as other laws affecting same-sex couples are rapidly changing, the laws pertaining to child custody are evolving constantly. Each state is different, and subject to change on a daily basis.
If both parents are considered legal parents of the child because they were able to adopt jointly or one parent was able to adopt the biological child of the other, then both parents should have equal rights under the law. Unfortunately, in many states it is not possible for both partners to be considered legal parents or it was not possible at the time of the child’s birth or adoption.
Other Relatives and Step-Parents Seeking Custody
Under certain circumstances a grandparent, sibling or another relative may wish to seek custody of a child they believe it not safe and well cared for with the biological parent or parents.
If you have been raising your step-child and your spouse dies, you may find yourself in a custody battle with the other biological parent, even if they were never actually involved with the child.
Legal Marijuana Use
Marijuana laws are also evolving. Regardless of the laws regarding medical or recreational marijuana use in your state, you may find yourself facing child endangerment charges and the threat of losing your child if you use marijuana for recreational or medical purposes, even if you do not use when your child is present and even if the charge or taking your child away for that reason is not legal in your state.
If your concerned about custody battle with your spouse, contact one of our family law firms now.