When children are involved in a crumbling marriage, their lives are in turmoil as well. What will happen? Where will they live? Parents need information so they can assure their children during the process. What is the best schedule for my child(ren)? How will the bills be paid? Custody decisions should be one of the earliest decisions made when discussing separation and will probably be the longest lasting issue in every case.
Who will be able to make decisions as to healthcare, schools, activities? What schedule is best for the child(ren)? There is a difference between legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody deals with who can make decisions for the best interests of the child(ren). Most parents receive joint legal custody, but that may not be the best for your situation. Physical custody deals with where the child will reside. Parents are granted either primary custody and visitation, or joint physical custody, depending on their situation.
And as the child(ren) grow and develop new talents, start or change schools, begin or change extracurricular activities, or parents change jobs, move or remarry, the agreement you signed years ago may not work….You may want a modification of the agreement that more fits the needs as they grow up.
If you are able to work things out, you may have a parenting or custody agreement in place prior to separation or when changes occur. You want to make sure that the agreement will be enforceable by the police or court, so having an attorney assist with drafting the agreement will give you peace of mind.
Not all parents can agree. The next step will be mediation, and if you still can’t agree, the court will hear your case and make the decisions.
Jeff has the experience to help guide you through the process, from pre-separation through litigating your case in court. His skills at negotiating can help you get what you want without spending time and money on a trial. But if negotiations don’t work, Jeff can take your case to trial and fight for your rights…and for your children.
Parents are responsible for supporting their children, whether setting the amount by agreement or using the court’s worksheet that fits your situation. The court bases child support on the number of nights the child(ren) spend with you, the income of the parents, and any medical or other needs of the child(ren).
When can you modify your support? Every three years, unless there is a change in income which would cause a 15% change – either up or down by either of the parents- in support.
If you need help with a child support issue, please call and let Jeff help you get the support you need, represent you if you’ve been called to court because of non-payment, or to obtain a modification in your payment.