Determining child custody is a major concern whenever parents divorce and may even lead to litigation. In determining custody, the judge will weigh several factors to arrive at a decision that he or she regards as the best interests of the children. Because May is Mental Health Month, we thought it would be helpful to share some insight into the court’s thinking on awarding custody when a parent is wrestling with mental illness.
In vitro fertilization is used by more and more families. Its benefits include enabling same-sex families to start families with biological children rather than adoption. It also helps male-female couples who have trouble conceiving.
Adoption typically involves parents adding a child to the family unit. This can be done as domestic adoption or international adoption. Other common examples are making a stepparent a legal parent, or even a grandparent or family member adopting the child. While less common, there is an occasion where a parent or family wishes to adopt a person over the age of 18. There are many valid reasons for doing this.
Parenting plans can be as unique as the family involved. Often it reflects the needs of the children while ideally balancing the schedules of the parents. Traditionally speaking, weekly arrangements can be broken down by alternating blocks of days, a weekday at one home and weekends at the other, or perhaps there are holidays and several weeks in the summer if the parents no longer live near each other.
Couples with kids traditionally wait until after the holidays to file for divorce. Unless the divorce is drawn out, this will be the last holidays as a couple, which can prompt both parents to think about how they want to celebrate the holidays with their kids in the years to come.
It is important to remember that addiction is a disease and not a matter of will or character. Nevertheless, an addicted spouse and parent can destroy a marriage and prove to be an unreliable or unstable force in raising children. Therefore, a spouse may want to request that a drug and alcohol test be administered during the divorce process or if there needs to be a modification of the parenting plan.
The courts generally lean towards some form of joint custody these days. However, nothing should be taken for granted during the divorce process, even if there is a verbal agreement. Moreover, the courts will not grant joint custody if it believes that joint custody is not in the best interests of the children. Reasons for this may be a previous history of addiction, dangerous or detrimental behavior, or threats to kidnap or illegally relocate children.
Single parents have a lot on their plate; they have to balance their careers, social lives and a healthy lifestyle. However, a parent’s largest priority is typically their children and their needs. It makes sense that most single parents dread the back-to-school advertisements every August.
Parents residing in New York may feel a sense of dread when they hear the words "child custody." On some occasions, attempting to get a child custody order put into place by the court can be a trying time for all involved. Parents in the midst of divorce proceedings may have an especially difficult time reaching an amicable agreement, since they are already dealing with a myriad of issues surrounding the end of their marriage.
The old way of thinking about parenthood involved two options. One was the traditional method of two biological or adoptive parents, either married or not. There was also the single parent. Based on recent changes, New York state is offering up to six different options for a parent. This is due to a change in the definition of parent, which has evolved quickly in light of rights of people and parents in the LBGTQ communities.