Family Law Articles

Paternity defendant avoids paying child support

Even if a defendant in a paternity case is actually the child’s father, he may be able to avoid paying child support by arguing that there is already an existing father figure in the child’s life, according to New York’s highest court. The mother in the case gave birth to a daughter when she was living with a boyfriend. The boyfriend was listed as the child’s father on her birth certificate. Twelve years later, the mother

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Shared parenting okay even if parents don’t get along

Family law courts have the power to order many things, but they can’t order ex-spouses to get along with each other. Yet this doesn’t necessarily mean that an unfriendly couple can’t share parenting duties. A father in Pennsylvania who was planning to retire from his job asked a judge for shared custody. The judge denied the request, ruling that the mother and father couldn’t share custody because they didn’t “work well together” and hadn’t demonstrated the

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Jehovah’s Witness may get custody

The fact that a divorcing mother is a Jehovah’s Witness shouldn’t be held against her in deciding who gets custody, according to the Kansas Court of Appeals. The father had argued that giving the mother custody could endanger the child, because of the religion’s prohibition against blood transfusions. But the court said that this was mere speculation, and there was no reason to think that the child had ever been denied a blood transfusion, needed a

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Divorcing couples sometimes fight big battles over ‘small’ things

It’s surprising how often divorcing couples are ready to go to war over seemingly small things, such as who gets a particular piece of personal property. The item may have sentimental value, and it may become a proxy for other issues in the marriage. However, it’s often wise to step back and decide whether the battle is really worth the cost in terms of time, money and energy.

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Father loses custody due to over-scheduling children

A New York judge recently awarded a mother primary custody of a couple’s two children in part because the lifestyle the father had created for them was overly scheduled and exhausting. The father centered the children’s life around tennis. He woke them at 6 a.m. for a half-day of school, after which they spent six hours at a tennis program, returning home after 9:30 each night. On weekends, the children – aged five and ten –

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Divorced stepfather doesn’t have right to visit child

While the rights of stepparents have expanded over the years, they’re not entitled to the same rights as a parent. The Washington Supreme Court reinforced this idea in a recent decision that said a divorced stepfather couldn’t claim a legal right to visitation with his former stepdaughter.

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Divorce can affect your will and other documents

When you get divorced, the last thing on your mind is likely to be documents such as your will. But after a divorce, it’s important to revise your will and other important documents, such as your power of attorney and health care proxy. These documents may contain provisions relating to a former spouse, former in-laws or stepchildren. In some states, a divorce automatically revokes any bequest in a will to a former spouse. But this isn’t

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Post-nuptial agreements are growing in acceptance

Most everyone has heard of prenuptial agreements, where a couple decide before they get married what will happen if they get divorced or if one of them dies. But did you know that there are also post-nuptial agreements? These are pretty much the same as prenuptial agreements, except that they’re signed after the marriage, rather than before.

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