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When Child Custody Must Be Determined
Whether parents are separated, divorced or unmarried, child custody will become important to determine as the children’s situation comes before a family law court. State laws, court precedents and unique family circumstances may all play a part as mothers and fathers ‒ who are not married to each other (or will soon be divorced) and are no longer parenting together ‒ determine the rights and responsibilities of each parent.
Children have rights and best interests that must figure into a child custody and visitation arrangement. Parents, too, have rights and responsibilities. Our family law attorneys address both when we work with parents to develop a workable parenting plan. The Boynton, Waldron, Doleac, Woodman & Scott, P.A., law firm in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has the experience and legal knowledge to answer your questions about family law matters such as child custody, visitation and support.
What The Law Says About Children Whose Parents Are No Longer Together
Most parents are aware of their parental rights and responsibilities in a general sense, but at the time of a divorce or in cases where the parents are not married, parents need to fully understand their legal rights as well as their legal obligations.
Your lawyer can explain the law and how it affects your family. By talking to an experienced family law attorney, you can understand the law, the family law court system and what the court is likely to decide or approve. If you need to have a court order changed, our lawyers can explain the modification process.
What Is At Stake; How The Family Law Court Comes In
Family dynamics and children’s sense of identity will be affected for a lifetime based on how children are raised and the quality time they spend with each parent.
Child custody is determined according to the best interests of the child. The traditional terms “custody” and “visitation” have been replaced in many states by terms such as “parenting time” and “residential schedules.” These changes have come with the implementation of new laws designed to reflect today’s families’ realities. Many child advocates believe the newer terms sound less adversarial and respect the goal of having both parents remain involved in their children’s lives if possible.
Residential schedules and parenting time with the children are often agreed to by the parents as part of a required parenting plan; however, where agreement cannot be reached, the court will make the decision. In some cases, a judge will decide that the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem is necessary to assist in making the determination of what schedule would be in the best interest of the children.
A special note for unmarried parents: We recognize that many young couples today put off marriage for many reasons, even after the birth of a baby. Even if you are cohabiting and co-parenting and there is no animosity between the two of you, we urge you to discuss your situation with a lawyer, Learn ways to protect your child and your parental rights in case of unexpected complications.
Establishing paternity is an important first step for single parents as well as for unmarried couples who have become parents, and we will gladly help you accomplish this with an eye to protecting your child’s best future.
Our Family Law Firm Is Ready To Help
These areas of family law are challenging for many separating, separated and unmarried couples. The good news is that many families have navigated the path to custody plans that have worked well for all parties. We share your strong concern for your children’s well-being and your desire to be the best mother or father you can be under the circumstances. To schedule a consultation and discuss your divorce, separation or related matter, contact us at 603-319-1074 or through this website.