A Child Custody Lawyer May Help You Resolve Disputes
Contested child custody cases can be extremely stressful, especially if you and the other parent cannot agree on fundamental parts of a parenting plan such as visitation scheduling, education or religious training. An attorney may be able to assist you in achieving a solution.
What Is a Paternity Case, and How Does it Involve Child Custody?
A paternity case involves the adjudication of father’s rights. There are generally two parts to a paternity case. First, a judge must declare that the man in question is biologically and legally the father of the child who is the subject of the litigation. Next, a judge may make decisions regarding visitation and child custody, including granting the father primary custody if appropriate.
A paternity case can be filed by the biological mother or father or by the Office of Child Support Enforcement. In some cases, the mother of the child may request a DNA test, or she may sign paperwork acknowledging paternity. Just because a father’s name is on a birth certificate does not necessarily mean that he is entitled to visitation rights. A paternity case must be opened for him to be legally declared the father and granted all the rights to which he is entitled. He may also be ordered to pay child support.
Should I File for Child Custody First or Wait Until I Am Served with Paperwork?
If you are separated and your spouse has mentioned that he or she may file for divorce and ask to be awarded custody, you may wonder if you should file first. It is a good idea to speak to a child custody lawyer about your options. In some cases, it can be beneficial to go ahead and file for an adjudication of child custody because the plaintiff in a civil case usually gets to present his or her side before the defendant does.
What is Temporary Child Custody?
In some cases, a judge will sign a temporary order that will remain in effect until a final order is entered. In many cases, both sides will agree on the specified terms. A temporary hearing may be set very early in the case so that important issues can be decided before a final hearing. A final hearing usually lasts longer than a temporary hearing so any evidence that was not presented initially can be offered at this time.
Can Child Custody Be Modified After the Judge Signs a Final Order?
Child custody can be modified at any time if there has been a material change in circumstances. If the change affects the health or safety of the child, an emergency order may be requested. Circumstances might be considered materially changed if one parent moves or gets remarried. An emergency situation could exist if there is suspicion of child abuse or a parent is arrested for a serious offense.
If I Am Behind on Child Support, Can My Ex-Partner Deny Me Visitation?
Child support and visitation matters are separate. You cannot withhold child support if you are being denied visitation, and your ex-spouse cannot deny you visitation if you are behind on child support. One option for those that have been denied visitation, is to file a petition with the court for the other parent to be held in contempt. That parent may be punished for not obeying previous court orders. If the judge believes that visitation is being denied against the best interests of the child, it may even be a reason for modification of custody.
What Should I Do if I Have Questions About My Pennsylvania Child Custody Case?
If you have legal questions about your child custody case, call Joanne Kleiner & Associates. Joanne Kleiner is an experienced child custody lawyer who will work hard on your case at every stage of the proceeding. Contact our Jenkintown office at (215) 886-1266 today. You can also schedule a consultation online.