American marriages have gone through a serious amount of changes over history. Right now, we are finding ourselves in a time where divorce, separation, and child custody battles will affect most people. With divorce rates being as high as 3.2 per 1,000 according to the CDC, child custody has transformed into an important topic for many American families.
Since all cases are unique, we will walk through a few different scenarios and base possible outcomes off typical circumstances within a scenario.
Married vs. Unmarried
Does being married affect child custody process?
In most cases, yes. Marriage between biological parents results in both parents having equal legal rights of the child/children. Unmarried parents result in the biological mother having all legal rights until the biological father has established his paternity. Once legally approved, the biological, unmarried father will gain the same rights as the mother. The rest of the process will be similar to that of married parents.
Will getting remarried change any past child custody decisions?
In most cases, no. Child support will remain the same unless there have been financial changes resulting in the new marriage. In most cases, one of the biological parents will request a child support hearing if there has been a substantial change in income or expenses to reassess what is owed in the future. Child support will not be charged to the new spouse unless they make the decision to provide financial assistance to their spouse. Income from the new spouse will not be considered. Joint tax returns may be affected if there are outstanding child support payments which can be solved through a petition by the new spouse.
If we don’t want to discuss or agree on terms, will this be a problem?
In most cases as a result of divorce, biological parents will only discuss terms of child custody through their attorneys. This process will ensure that all parties involved are considered in the decision-making process. With the child’s interest being the most important, decisions will most likely be finalized in court.
We have arrived at a compromise but what’s next?
It can be assumed that creating a compromised situation with your previous spouse is the easiest way to arrange child custody. In most cases, this is correct. Collaborating on custody and visitation decisions will result in quicker legal processes. This may potentially reduce trauma for the children involved. While this is extremely rare, all parties involved may not have to go to court but instead get approval of decisions from a judge.
Fighting for your child’s custody can be an intimidating, upsetting, and stressful process but will also result in an outcome that will be an extremely important part of your life. It is important to have an experienced attorney walk you through the entire process and make sure the interests of everyone, including the child’s, are accounted for. Our team of dedicated trial attorneys at Antol & Sherman, PC, have more than 60 years of combined legal experience and a strong track record of providing successful legal counsel. We have been practicing criminal, family and divorce, drug and DUI, and accident law in Flagstaff, Arizona and surrounding northern Arizona cities including Camp Verde, Sedona, Williams, Holbrook, Winslow, Cottonwood, Mayer, Seligman, Kingman, Page, St. Johns and more for over 30 years. Antol & Sherman, PC and their staff of lawyers would love to sit down and discuss your legal needs. Please call us at 928-241-6339, stop in today at Antol & Sherman, PC, 150 N Verde St Suite 102, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 or visit us at flagazlaw.com.