Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Abandonment

Child Abandonment

Child abandonment can be defined as when a person in charge of a child or children or a guardian or parent in charge of a child or children either deserts the child or children without consideration for the safety, welfare or physical health of the child or children ,or has the intention of abandoning the child or children and in certain circumstances it may also be defined as failing to provide the appropriate and needed care for a child or children who live with them. As well as physical abandonment, child abandonment can situations include what is known as emotional abandonment where a parent offers little to no emotional support and/or physical contact over prolonged periods of time. Sadly, children who face these issues often become adults with issues such as emotional dependency, helplessness and very low-self-esteem as well as a myriad of other issues.

Someone who is charged with deserting a child or children may face severe criminal penalties.

What Is Childhood Abandonment?

Childhood abandonment is wide category and can describe many behaviors and actions. Some examples include:

  • Only minimal efforts are made to communicate and support a child or children.
  • Leaving an infant child or children in dumpsters, trash cans, on the side of the road or doorsteps.
  • Leaving a child or children with another party without providing provisions for the support of the child or children and with no meaningful conversation with the child or children for in excess of three months.
  • Not participating in an appropriate program reuniting the parent or guardian with a child or children.
  • Not having regular visits for 6 months or longer with a child or children.
  • Unwilling to be the provider of care, supervision or support for the child.
  • Absence from the home for a such a time that it poses a risk of harm to the child or children.

Child Abandonment Laws

Laws differ depending on the state you and the child or children reside in. some states have specific laws regarding child abandonment, whereas others consider it under already established child abuse laws. Most states consider the abandonment of a child or children as a felony. This includes when a guardian or parent physically abandons a child or children when they have the intention of the relinquishment of all their responsibilities and rights towards said child or children. On the other hand, some states classify this as a misdemeanor (usually invoking less harsh penalties) considering acts of abandonment that are not physical in nature. In both sets of circumstances, child abandonment is frequently defined as:

  • Leaves a child or children typically beneath 13 years of age without the supervision of a responsible person (normally thought to be over 14 years of age.)
  • Failure to keep contact with the child or children and not providing reasonable levels of support for specified time periods.

Speaking from a standpoint of criminality, the definition of child desertion is the physical abandonment of a child or children but in some states, it can include what is termed emotional abandonment and failing to provide needed, food, shelter, clothing and medical care for their child or children.

Mandated Reporting Laws

As some states qualify the abandonment of a child or children as a form of child abuse, certain people in the realm of the child or children may have a legal obligation to report suspected or known situations to the appropriate authorities. Regulations and rules change depending on the state you are in so you will need to check to see if you fit the criteria of being what is called a “mandatory reporter.”

Safe Haven Legal Exceptions

Safe Haven laws in most states have exceptions to child abandonment laws. These Safe Haven laws allow mothers to abandon their infants who are newborn in what has been established as a safe place, such as fire stations, houses and churches without them having to fear being charged with the abandonment of a child or children.

Leaving A Child Alone at Home

Sometimes it may be unavoidable to leave a child or children at home without supervision. In general, states offer guidance to help parents avoid charges of child abandonment, Some states have statutes that will weigh a number of factors when deciding to pursue a charge of child abandonment such as the length of time the child or children were left alone, economic hardship or illness of the guardian or parent responsible for the child or children and the age of the child or children.

Punishment and Penalties for Child Abandonment

Depending on the state where they reside, an individual who is facing charges of child abandonment may be having to consider wide ranging punishments and penalties as well as multiple sentencing options, largely dependent on whether the state considers the abandonment of a child or children as a misdemeanor or crime. It is worth knowing a court can impose not only the termination of parental rights and jail time but also qualify supervised access to the child or children in the future and financial penalties in the form of fines. There is also a possibility an individual will have to face charges of reckless abandonment that has a far harsher penalty should a child or children die for a reason linked to their desertion.

Loss of Parental Rights

Most states maintain a parent is deemed to have abandoned a child or children following a period of two years when they have limited their financial support and contact. This abandonment can result in a parent losing their rights to the child or children. Nonetheless, a parent is not in a position where they can elect or make a choice regarding the forfeiture of these responsibilities and rights. Indeed, even in situations where there is little to no doubt that a child or children have been willfully abandoned, it is the viewpoint of most states they will not take the legal steps to terminate the rights of a parent except in circumstances where there is another figure willing to take on the role of a parent and who is in a position to formally adopt the child or children.

Source: “My Wife Cheated On Me and I Want a Divorce.” Maples Family Law, 17 Jan. 2019, https://www.maplesfamilylaw.com/divorce/my-wife-cheated-on-me-and-i-want-a-divorce

Need A Family Lawyer In Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation.  As proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can move on with your life and your children. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of Parental Rights

Terminating parental rights is a serious subject and should be very carefully considered before any actions are taken. Read on to learn more about the termination of parental rights.

What Does Termination of Parental Rights Mean?

When the rights of a parent are terminated it means the rights that person had as a parent of their child or children have been taken away so that person no longer remains the legal parent of the child. This has a number of implications:

  • There is no longer a parent-child relationship.
  • The parent usually has forgone the right to speak with or visit with the child or children.
  • The parent no longer has an obligation to pay child support.
  • The parent no longer gets to raise the child or children.
  • The parent is removed from the birth certificate of the child or children.
  • The child or children can be adopted by another without the permission of the parent.

There is a reason the nickname for the termination of a parents right is referred to as the civil death penalty – such matters are taken with a great deal of levity by judges, who do not usually terminate the rights of a parent unless there is a very good reason to do so. The following information is in reference to private terminations of parent’s rights among family members only.

Who Is Allowed to Terminate A Parent’s Rights?

A petition to terminate the rights of a parent can be filed by a guardian, parent or family member. When the petitioner of the child is in receipt of public assistance such as SNAP or TANF it is not very likely the parent’s rights will be terminated by a judge. In those circumstances, the child support office has to mandatorily notified regarding a termination if the petitioner is in receipt of public assistance. The Department of Family Services, known as the DFS may request a judge to terminate the rights of a parent in instances when CPS has been involved with a family. Normally, this occurs when the DFS has been involved with the family for in excess of a year and has made numerous attempts to address the outstanding family problems. If the issues are very serious and/or the parent has failed to make progress, the District Attorney may be asked by the DFS to file a parental rights termination case.

Can I Opt to Give Up My Parental Rights?

In most cases the answer will be no. Judges, more often than not, have the view a child or children need two parents so that sufficient financial and emotional support is provided. Parental rights cannot be given up in order to avoid addressing poor behavior in a child or children and neither can you unilaterally relinquish your parental rights. In normal circumstances, you will usually have to attend a court hearing in person to explain your situation and unique goals to the judge.  Every case is different and no outcome can be guaranteed by any lawyer.

Reasons for Termination of Parental Rights

  • Only a very minimal effort has been made to support the child or children by the parent – this includes taking care of the child or children and communicating with the child or children.
  • The child or children would face a serious risk of mental, emotional or physical injury being in the company of the parent.
  • The parent is unfit in that they refuse or are incapable of providing the child or children the proper guidance, support or care.
  • When the child or children were conceived following a sexual assault. When the parent has been convicted for such a crime, their parenting rights can be legally terminated.
  • The parent has been neglectful meaning the child or children have not been correctly taken care of, this includes shelter, medical care, providing food, education and any other special need the child or children may require.
  • When CPS has taken a child or children from the home, the parent only has a limited window of time to address and correct the reasons for the removal of the child or children. If in a reasonable time, the parent does not correct those issues, the state can and often will petition to terminate parental rights.
  • When the parent displays behaviors related to abandonment indicating they desire to give up all their rights regarding the child or children. In these cases, it usually means a parent has not contacted the child or children for a time in excess of 6 months without good reason for doing so.

Regardless of any parent’s preference, the assigned judge is always going to decide on what they consider is going to be in the best interests of the child or children. Clear and convincing evidence must be produced by the party requesting the termination; this is one of the highest burdens of proof imposed by the law.

Where Do I File for Termination Of Parental Rights?

Termination of parental rights and be filed at the Juvenile or Family Superior Court in the county where the child or children resides. You may also file in the county where one of the parents makes their home. However, when the child or children are Native American, these matters are usually handled by the independent tribal court.

I Haven’t Heard From The Other Parent In Years. Is There A Fast Way To Terminate Their Rights?

Sadly, in these circumstances, it may take longer if the other parent cannot be located. The other party will have to be personally served with papers, giving them the opportunity to attend court and defend their custodial rights, should they choose to do so. When you are not aware of the location of the other parent, the judge has an expectation you will do everything in your power to locate them by speaking with family, friends, their employer, email and online searches, etc. A judge may allow you to post a notice in a newspaper should the previously named searches do not reveal the parent’s location.

How Do I Terminate Parental Rights In Arizona?

In Arizona, at least one of the following statutory grounds must be asserted and proven with clear and convincing evidence:

  • Within 30 days after being served with a Notice of Adoption, the presumed father failed to file a claim of paternity.
  • The parents have agreed to an adoption of their child or children or have relinquished the child or children to a licensed adoption agency.
  • Serious Neglect or abuse of the child or children.
  • Abandonment
  • A chronic substance abuse history from the parent which cannot be remedied or treated
  • When one parent faces felony incarceration for a considerable period of time, or life sentence.

The statutes containing the comprehensive list a court may rely on when terminating parental rights can be discovered here.

Do I Need A Lawyer for Termination Of Parental Rights In Arizona?

The termination of parental rights is a very serious matter and you should ideally engage a lawyer to assist in navigating difficult to understand laws and procedures that are mandatory in this process. In situations where DFS has filed a case seeking to terminate your custodial rights, an attorney will usually be appointed to represent your situation at no cost. However, you sometimes get what you pay for.  In circumstances where the other parent has decided to file a case against you, you should seriously think about getting a qualified and experienced attorney to help defend your rights.

Sources:

Martin, Kasio. “Family Law Self-Help Center – Overview of Termination of Parental Rights.” Family Law Self-Help Center – Overview of Termination of Parental Rights, https://www.familylawselfhelpcenter.org/self-help/adoption-termination-of-parental-rights/overview-of-termination-of-parental-rights.
“FAQ about Termination of Parental Rights in Arizona -.” Internet Marketing for Attorneys – Big Mouth Marketing, 3 Jan. 2018, https://www.bigmouthmarketing.co/legal-resources/faq-termination-parental-rights-arizona/.

Need A Family Lawyer In Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation.  As proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can move on with your life and your children. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Can a Father Take a Child Away from the Mother?

Can A Father Take a Child Away From The Mother

If you have sole physical custody, also known as, the primary custodial parent, you can take your child away from the mother. However, if you do not have primary custody, it can be virtually impossible to take the child away from the mother.

On occasion, when your child or children are taken from you, it can constitute a crime such as unlawful kidnapping. However, when you are married and there are no custody orders from the court, it remains legal for your child or children to be taken by the other parent until a court issues orders to the contrary. Or, in the case where you are divorced, and the mother has been granted primary custody for the child or children it is not appropriate for the other parent to take them. On the other hand, it becomes more complicated when there is joint legal decision making. You would need to consult a copy of the custody order to ascertain when your child or children can be taken by the other parent. It is crucially important to have an understanding that primary custody is markedly different than joint legal decision-making.

Following visitation or parenting time, the other parent has an obligation to return your child or children or let you collect your child or children.  Both parents can and should follow their family custody orders insofar as they are formal orders by the court, enforceable by law, and by extension, law enforcement officers if necessary.  Should one parent unilaterally elect to refuse return of your children, this act, standing alone, is a violation of a court order which can lead to fines, purge orders, or even confinement should a finding of custodial interference or parental kidnapping be made by the Court.

When You Have Sole Legal Decision Making

  • When there is an ongoing 209A Abuse Prevention Case pending and you have a custody order relevant to it.
  • When as a parent who is not married, you have a court order that states you have primary custody and parenting time.
  • When you are a mother who is not married and there is no custody order, but you are in possession of a court order that states the name of the father of the child or children.
  • When you are a mother who is not married, and no party has been to court to obtain an order stating who is the father of the child or children – this is known as establishing paternity.
  • When you are a divorced parent, or married, and you are in possession of a court order that states you have primary custody for the child or children.

When You Don’t Have Sole Legal Decision Making

  • When you are married and there is not a custody order in place. In that situation physical custody is presumably shared by both parents.
  • When there is a court order stating the other parent and you have shared physical custody.

What Can I Do if the Other Parent Decides to Kidnap Our Child or Children?

It is a crime when the other parent takes your child or children or keeps your child or children away from you when they do not have a right to do so.

The other parent does not have the right to keep or take your child or children from you when you have an order of primary or shared custody. When visitation or court-ordered parenting time has reached its conclusion, the other parent must return the child or children to you or allow you to collect the child or children. The other parent does not have the right to keep your child or children away from you or take the child or children away from you when you have court-ordered parenting time or shared physical custody. In addition, the other parent has no right to keep your child outside of the scheduled parenting time, nor do they have the right to take the child or children without your permission.

In situations where the other parent keeps or takes your child or children when they do not have the right to do so, you have the following options:

  • Contact the police.
  • Encourage local prosecutors to file criminal charges.
  • Go to the Probate and Family Court to file an enforcement motion.
  • If your child or children was taken abroad contact the U.S. State Department.
  • Make contact with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Police Can Do The Following:

  • Attempt to find your child or children and then return your child or children to you.
  • Criminal charges can be filed against the other parent in the sole discretion of the local prosecutor’s office.
  • Find your missing child or children by working with the National Center for Missing And Exploited Children.

Note: If you do not have a custody order and you are not married to the father of the child or children, the police may require you to go to the Probate and Family Court to obtain a custody order.

File Criminal Charges

  • A criminal complaint can be filed against the other parent by going to the District Court near you and filing at the office belonging to the criminal clerk.
  • If the other parent has kidnapped your child or children, you can also call the office of the District or County Attorney to let them know.

When You Go to Probate and Family Court

  • You may file a petition to establish custody or paternity depending on whether you are married or not married to the other biological parent.
  • Your family law petition will address the Juvenile or Family Court which may order the other parent to return the child or children to you. Another option is the court can also give an order to the sheriff so they can forcibly bring the other parent to the court. It will be necessary for a lawyer to assist you with this process.
  • File what is known for as “Petitioner for Contempt”. Jail can be a consequence for the other parent if they do not obey the orders if issued.

Contacting the U.S. State Department

Once contacted, the U.S. State Department is able to assist when the other parent takes your child or children outside the boundaries of the United States.

What If the Other Parent Takes our Child but We Are Married and There Is No Court Order of Custody?

In circumstances when there has never been a court order regarding custody and you are married, it is not a crime when the other parent takes your child or children away from your home. Under the law, it is not considered to be kidnapping under the law. To try and get your child or children back, you may be able to obtain the custody order from the Family Court by commencing an action for marital dissolution or legal separation and seeking immediate temporary orders awarding you some level of custody.

How Can I Stop The Other Parent from Taking Our Child Out of the Country?

When you think your child or children may be removed from the country by the other parent, you can request an order from the Probate and Family Court that:

  • Places the name of your child or children on the Do Not Depart list maintained by the federal government.
  • The other parent can be court ordered and forbidden from departing the United States with your children or child.

When the name of your child or children are not on the Do Not Depart list, an alert will be triggered by the Transport Security Administration, known as the TSA, which routinely scans all passports belonging to your child or children when they are at the airport. When this occurs, the TSA will not allow your child or children to proceed further through the airport. In this case, you will need the skills of a lawyer for help with this particular court order. A lawyer can:

  • Demonstrate to the family court judge the need for such an order;
  • Ensure the TSA has full knowledge your child or children is on the Do Not Depart list after orders are issued by the family court judge.

Source: “Can the Other Parent Take Our Child Away?” MassLegalHelp, https://www.masslegalhelp.org/domestic-violence/wdwgfh7/other-parent-take-child.

Speak with Our Father’s Rights Attorneys In Scottsdale

Our Father’s Rightschild custody, and guardianship attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

We are experienced family law attorneys and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Can A Mother Lose Custody Of Her Child?

Can A Mother Lose Custody Of Her Child

Many fathers think there is a bias in favor of mothers when it comes to custody cases. Indeed, in common parlance, one hears of the mother losing custody a great deal more than the custodial parent (regardless of gender) losing custody of their child or children. This outlook is very understandable, and you can be forgiven for thinking the road to obtaining custody is long and fraught with pitfalls…but the reality is usually different. Remember, certain parental misconduct, regardless of gender, can be just cause for that parent to lose custody of their child or children.

Read on to learn more about how a mother can lose custody over her child or children and what your role might be in the process.

There are two things to keep in mind as you are reading this:

  1. This piece discusses serious acts of misconduct originated by the custodial mother that should be the cause of her losing custody over her child or children. It is not, however, about how a father seeking custody should conduct themselves or take part in litigation that is not needed and not reasonable.
  2. This piece is for fathers who have a goal of obtaining custody over their child or children but as yet do not have a plan in place to achieve that goal. There is no question of the courage required to go to litigation in a case of child custody. When you lack a plan to achieve a goal, it is little more than wishful thinking on the part of the father. You have to seriously ask yourself:  “Am I willing to follow through on this and commit to the process and the results?” – If you are unsure or the answer is a resolute “No” – you are wasting your time reading further.

However, if you possess the skills, courage and fiscal ability to go to family court and expose the misconduct of the mother towards the child or children and then make positive changes in the lives of your child or children, by reading this you are in a great place to proceed!

The Top Reasons for A Mother to Lose Custody of her Child or Children

  • The mother committed acts of physical abuse towards the father or the child or children.
  • The mother committed acts of mental abuse on the child or children and this includes acts and behaviors designed to promote the concept of parental alienation to the child or children.
  • The mother is neglecting the child or children.
  • The mother expresses frustrations or acts in a way that produces custodial interference of father’s parenting time.
  • The mother is violating existing orders of the court.

How Can a Mother’s Physical Abuse of a Child or Children Cause Her to Lose Custody?

Unquestionably, physical abuse is a valid basis for a mother to lose custody of her child or children. Furthermore, as the father, you may be found to be partaking in child neglect if you do not take appropriate action and do not prevent the continuation of said physical abuse. You have a responsibility and a duty to undertake the protection of your child or children. In simple terms, time cannot afford to be wasted and you need to act without delay to remove your child or children from a situation that is physically abusive towards them. A mother may (and very frequently does) lose custody of her child or children in any of the ways described below. But please note, this is not an exhaustive or all-inclusive list.

  • Law enforcement deciding to pursue action following a report of physical abuse towards the child or children.
  • Social services (often known as Child Protective Services or CPS or DES in some areas) receives a report alleging physical abuse of a child or children and then opens a case with the purpose of investigating the allegation. CPS retains the legal powers to physically remove a child or children from a home where they suspect or have evidence of a child or children have been the victims of physical abuse and they often provide custody, albeit on a short-term and temporary basis to other family members or the non-abusive parent. Many times, this is the first step towards what is known as a “dependency” court action.
  • The father goes to a family court and files what is called a “request for order.” This process informs the court of the physical abuse being perpetrated by the mother towards the child or children. In normal circumstances the order requests the court to make a determination awarding sole physical and legal custody of the child or children to the father with the mother of the child or children receiving visitation that is professionally monitored.

The Mother’s Physical Abuse Towards the Father

If the mother has committed acts of physical abuse to the father in the following ways, she can lose custody of her child or children:

  • Law enforcement arrests the mother of the child or children following an act of domestic violence. Normally this means the father will obtain from the police an “emergency protective order” and in some cases the criminal law judge will issue what is called a criminal protective order. This happens when the mother is going to be prosecuted by the city attorney or the district attorney.
  • The father requests sole physical custody and sole legal custody when filing with the family a court a domestic violence restraining order petition that will most likely include terms for supervised levels of visitation for the mother of the child or children.

Can Emotional Abuse Perpetrated By the Mother of a Child Or Children Cause Her to Lose Custody?

Here are some of the most frequently experiences forms of emotional abuse that can be inflicted by a mother towards a father or a child or children. Again, this list is not exhaustive or all inclusive:

  • Verbal abuse from the mother aimed at a child or children. Usually in the form of disparagement, belittling or badgering and often by the means of shouting at the child or children for reasons that cannot be rationally justified.
  • The mother working to isolate the father in the mind of a child or children by utilizing what is known as parental alienation.
  • Although very difficult to provide convincing evidence to back up…the assertion emotional or love support is being withdrawn or has been withdrawn from the child or children.
  • Emotional and/or physical abuse of a sibling or the father. If a mother exposes a child to the aforementioned abuse, these are legitimate and correct grounds that the mother may lose custody of the child or children as a result of her actions.

How Serious Does Neglect Have to Become for a Mother to Lose Custody of Her Child or Children?

Serious neglect is undoubtedly a correct, proper and legitimate basis for a mother to lose custody of her child or children. Obviously, parenting is not a perfect process and even the strictest family law judge appreciates this fact and that parents may make unintentional mistakes. However, a mistake is very different from a parent exercising poor judgment on a consistent basis throughout the lives of their child or children. When a mother chooses to seriously neglect the safety, the wellbeing, health, education of her child or children it is very clear these derelictions of duty should be just cause for the mother to lose custody of her child or children.

Can A Mother Lose Custody of Her Child or Children Because of the Frustration Of Parenting Time?

There is a lack of a specific legal definition for frustration of parenting time but it can be summed up as: consistent and unreasonable limitation or interference with the parenting time of the other parent. There are at least three different reasons why this should be a justified cause for a mother to lose custody of her child or children:

  • It shows a lack of respect and for the dignity of the father and his role in the life of the child or children when a mother continually frustrates the parenting time of the father.
  • It displays a refusal or lack of ability to co-parent.
  • It is indicative the mother is capable of engaging in more destructive behaviors and conduct that will be detrimental to the lives of the father and the child or children. When this issue is not addressed at the outset, the next step the mother often takes is actively causing parental alienation, further separating the physical and emotional bonds a father has with his child or children.

If A Mother Violates A Court Order, Is This Cause For Her To Lose Custody Of Her Child Or Children?

Another type of misconduct is when court orders are violated. As you would imagine, the seriousness of the violation committed should be a reflection of the seriousness of any resulting consequences. Even if a mother is routinely a few minutes late dropping off or picking up her child or children, it is very unlikely this will result in any change of the outstanding custodial arrangements. Conversely, let us say a mother decides to interpret that the parenting time of the father is merely a suggestion by the court that she can use her discretion as opposed to a court order – this will represent a violation of a very serious nature and may well lead to the custody of a child or children being transferred to the father.

What Steps Need To be Taken For a Child Or Children To be Extracted From the Custody of A Mother?

This is dependent on whether the father already has a child custody order in place.

When Married Parents Do Not Have A Child Custody Order In Place

When the father is still married to the mother and no divorce has been filed – the father has to make a determination regarding the current situation. His options are:

  • Commence and file a formal dissolution of marriage case.
  • Start the process of legal separation.

When the parenting issue has become so strained it is just another indication the marriage is beyond reconciliation, fathers would be wise to do the following regarding the treatment the child or children receive from their mother:

  • Document mother’s misconduct and make a reasonable effort to communicate in order to get to a stage where the misconduct stops. The documentation can be in the forms of written or electronic communication with the mother.
  • The father will need to speak with an attorney nuanced in family law should the misconduct of the mother continue. Together, the father and the family law attorney can review the situation and look at further options.
  • The father should file a request with the court for an order for an appropriate amount of parenting and custody time, should the father move forward with a child custody petition, legal separation or marriage dissolution.

When Unmarried Parents Do Not Have A Child Custody Order

In this situation the father will need to file what is known as a paternity action. Once filed, the petition is served through the appropriate channels to the mother of the child or children. At the same time, the father will need to obtain appropriate child parenting time and child custody by filing and serving a request for order of such with the court.

When Parents Have A Custody Order

In these circumstances, a father may have several options. please note this list is not exhaustive or all-inclusive.

  • Following communication between the father and the mother, a violation that has been documented may result in an attempt at the parents achieving a private resolution without further intervention from the court.
  • A father can attempt to show cause against the mother by the filing of a contempt order with the purpose of providing evidence that Mother’s conduct violated existing court orders.
  • A father may make a determination he wishes the court to seek a parenting time or modification of child custody order. Depending on the severity of the violations the mother has inflicted on her child or children will be a material factor in the decision of the father to pursue not only the sole physical custody of a child or children but also consideration should be given to whether the father also wants to obtain sole legal custody of the child or children.

Is The Custody order From A Judgment?

The options mentioned above are applicable if the father has a custody order following a final judgment. That said, if a father seeks a modification of legal custody or seeks significant change to parenting time, he usually has to justify this to demonstrate why this will be in the best interest of the child or children. This should not be a struggle if the misconduct and poor behavior of the mother of the child or children is of a serious nature to give reason the mother should lose custody of the child or children.

Next Steps

When fathers have to deal with mothers who are being very unreasonable and even malicious when the father is trying his utmost to fulfill and take seriously his responsibilities as a father, he should, without delay, seek intervention from a court. There is no doubt the life and wellbeing of your child and/or children are fully worth your effort and time. To not act, risks your child or children being further exposed to a destructive, unhealthy or unsafe environment that may have a negative and lasting impact on their current and future lives.

Speak with Our Father’s Rights Attorneys In Scottsdale

Our Father’s Rightschild custody, and guardianship attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

We are experienced family law attorneys and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Are Your Fathers’ Rights Being Violated?

Are Your Fathers Rights Being Violated

When a court has issued visitation and child custody orders, parents have an obligation to follow them. When a parent does not do this, there are several options open to the other party, depending on how severe the outstanding issues are. Mothers can face serious consequences including a jail sentence, the payment of attorney fees and maybe even the loss of any custodial rights, should the mother violate the rights of a father. Read on to learn more about this important subject that can have a huge impact of the lives of families.

Custody Violations and Custody Decisions

There are several types of custody a court can make but in essence they are dealing with the assignation of child custody to one or both parental parties. Popular custody types include:

  • Primary Custodial Parenting Time– the child or children resides with only one of the parents
  • Sole Legal Decision Making– one parent has the complete responsibility for the welfare, health and education of the child or children
  • Joint and Equal Parenting Time – both parties have large amounts of physical visitation with their child or children
  • Joint Legal Decision Making – both parents share equal responsibility for the decisions regarding a child or children’s welfare, health and education

A mother can face an accusation of violating the rights of a father if she does not uphold her court-mandated responsibilities to the child or children, or if she decides to interfere with the ability of the father by making it difficult or impossible for him to invoke his custodial rights. Courts view paternal rights very seriously including the rights a father has to be a co-parent in the raising of his child or children. Judges tend to reject a parent’s credibility when one parent purposefully or even accidentally interferes with the responsibilities and rights of the other party or acts as a damaging influence in the relationship a parent has with their child or children.

Visitation

Parents’ parenting time rights are shared via written court orders including the times and dates when a parent may invoke custody rights. The court order may be more specific and clearly make a determination regarding child transportation and locations where the kids can be collected at the start and end of a visitation. Both parents are strongly urged to stick to the mandated court schedule yet remain flexible to accommodate reasonable needs of the other parent. When the court ordered schedule is deviated against your wishes for multiple weeks or months, it is usually best to head back to court and have a legal modification completed to the court order. If a new schedule has been verbally agreed by the parents and the mother then commit a violation of said schedule, the father may be in a position whereby he is not able to obtain the legal enforcement of the previously stated verbal agreement.

Can A Mother Violate The Rights Of A Father?

Here are some of the common ways a mother can violate a fathers’ rights:

  • Mother’s unilateral scheduling of activities during Father’s custodial parenting time, thereby making it impossible for father to be able to spend time with his child or children to the extent allowed under the terms of the court ordered visitation schedule;
  • Encourages others or takes part in ridiculing the father with the purpose of discrediting the father and his relationship with his child or children;
  • Without permission or agreement with the father, takes the child or children and permanently moves them to an out of state location;
  • Uses the child or children as a message boy or girl to the father or involving the child or children in any issues regarding divorce proceedings or custody issues with a goal of disturbing the time a father has with his child or children;
  • Does not co-parent with the father of the child or children;
  • When the father is behind on child support, the mother denies him access to the child or children;
  • Mother does not adhere to an established schedule and frequently has the father waiting on her to deliver or collect the child or children;
  • The mother neglects to include and involve the father of the child or children when he has joint custody in making decisions regarding the upbringing of the child or children; and
  • Subjects the father to accusations of child neglect and/or abuse of his child or children despite knowing what she is saying is false.

Recourse When a Mother Violates The Rights Of A Father

The first thing a father should attempt is communication with mother but not when a restraining order against you is not already in place. If this is the case, you need to speak to a family law attorney without delay to initiate conversation with the attorney of the other party. It will be of great benefit to keep a documented record of the times, dates and methods used by the mother whenever a violation of your rights has occurred. Should the mother make a decision to continue with the violation of your visitation or custody rights, you can call the local police department and they have the means to enforce the orders of the court. If the mother refuses you access to your child or children, help can be obtained from the local district attorney’s Child Abduction Unit. And of course, you should let your attorney know about any involvement of law enforcement in the scenario you are facing.

If you desire, a contempt court action can be filed by your attorney against the mother of your child or children. A contempt hearing can then be scheduled and a Judge will make a determination if the mother is indeed in violation of the established court custodial orders. If this is found to be the case, the court can do some or indeed all of the following in their judgment:

  • Permit the father additional visitation rights to his child or children by making a change to the established custody order;
  • Grant the father primary physical custody of the child or children, thereby again changing the established custody order;
  • Change the custody order to give the father sole legal custody;
  • Make an order where the mother can only have visitation which is limited to “supervised visits”;
  • Impose a jail sentence or fines on the mother for contempt of court; and
  • As the father had to bring the contempt of court action, the judge may decide the mother is responsible for the legal fees of the father.

Source: Wallin, Paul. “Consequences Mothers Face for Violating Father’s Rights: WK.” Wkfamilylaw, 17 Dec. 2018, https://www.wkfamilylaw.com/consequences-mothers-face-violating-fathers-rights/.

Speak with Our Father’s Rights Attorneys In Scottsdale

Our Father’s Rightschild custody, and guardianship attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

We are experienced family law attorneys and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Is A Prenup Agreement

When you are very much in love and about to become a spouse, there may be a tricky issue to negotiate regarding a prenuptial agreement. Often defenses are raised and fear and distrust can breed. However, it can help if you remember the purpose of a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial Agreement Definition

Entered into before marriage a prenuptial agreement sets forth what will happen to the assets of you and your spouse should you decide to separate, divorce or should one of you pass away. It can also preserve the nature of property when a marriage is terminated. So separate property remains separate as opposed to being subjected to equitable distribution laws or being deemed community property.

Increasingly popular, prenuptial agreements help people when they have, for example, focused on their careers prior to a delayed marriage. So often, both parties have assets they want to protect before entering into a marriage contract. Prenuptial agreements are also a frequently chosen option when one partner has children from a previous marriage. This agreement makes sure the separate property of a spouse goes to their own children as they intended.

Very often the greatest area of contention in the divorce process is regarding how money and property should be divided. Prenuptial agreements are popular with couples who do not want a court to decide on the distribution of assets should the marriage come to an end. This is a case where the forward planning of a prenuptial agreement can save a great deal of heartache further down the road. Prenuptial agreements can also help in the following ways:

  • You can protect the assets you gathered before your marriage and specify what you want to do with them. For example, donate to a charity or pass them along to your children.
  • Finances can be taken care of. So you can specify whose debt is whose and what will be shared and what will belong to the individual.
  •  Assets and financial details can be managed by having a prenuptial agreement that states who handles those details.
  • The rights of a spouse to your retirement plan can be waived by a prenuptial agreement so there can be a different beneficiary.
  • When there is a large financial disparity in a relationship, a prenuptial agreement can work as a safeguard by controlling asset distribution brought into the relationship.

What is the Purpose of a Prenup?

Ultimately a prenup gives the right for individuals to decide how to manage their assets before marriage. It is more than just a case of not trusting your partner. It is about respecting what your future spouse has and giving them the ability to decide what they want to do with their assets.

Source

“Definition of a Prenuptial Agreement.” Legalzoom.com, 20 Feb. 2015, www.legalzoom.com/knowledge/prenuptial-agreement/topic/prenuptial-definition.

Contact Our Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers in Scottsdale

Consulting with a talented Scottsdale prenuptial agreement lawyer or family law attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in drafting and litigating premarital agreements will save you a great deal of grief and expense in the future. Contact Canterbury Law Group today.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Prenuptial Agreement Pros And Cons

In reality, marriage is more than just a romantic relationship – it is also a business relationship. This duality has led to the increase of prenuptial agreements (also known as a prenup or premarital agreement) so the financial interests of each spouse are protected.

Read on to learn more about the pros and cons you need to know regarding prenuptial agreements. Keep in mind these guidelines can change because state laws can differ.

Prenuptial Agreement Pros

  • Prenuptial agreements serve the purpose of protecting children and grandchildren’s inheritance rights from a former marriage.
  • A premarital agreement can protect a professional or business practice so it does not become divided and your former spouse does not have involvement or control of the business should you divorce.
  • A premarital agreement can protect a spouse who is debt-free from assuming debt obligations the other party has.
  • A premarital agreement can ensure you will be fairly compensated should you be giving up a successful and lucrative career should the marriage not survive.
  • A premarital agreement can put in writing any responsibility and decision making sharing the parties agree too, prior to marriage as well as addressing financial aspects of the marriage.
  • The amount of spousal support one spouse will have to pay the other if the divorce can be decided in a premarital agreement.
  • The finances of older persons or persons of substantial wealth entering into their second or more marriage can be protected with a premarital agreement.

Prenuptial Agreement Cons

  • You may have to concede your right to inheritance from the estate of your spouse when they pass away. However, the law states you are entitled to a portion of the estate if your spouse has not made a provision for such in their will.
  • You may be entitled to a share of the increase in the value of a business your spouse owns if you have made a contribution such as taking care of the home or entertaining clients. However, in a premarital agreement, you may not be entitled to claim a share of that increased value. In many states, the law says the value increase is marital property considered to be divisible.
  • A lack of trust may result from commencing a relationship with a contract at the outset.
  • It is tough to see how issues in the future may be handled so keep in mind, seemingly simple compromises made in the romantic period before marriage may have a significant impact later on.
  • A spouse who does not earn a wage or earns only a low wage may not be able to keep the lifestyle they have become used too while in a marriage if the agreement has spousal support limits the spouse has an entitlement too.
  • Every relationship has its honeymoon stage where a spouse who is in love will not make wise financial decisions as they cannot see the relationship ever terminating. A prenuptial agreement helps with this.

Get Professional Legal Assistance To See If A Prenup Is Right For You

If you, or you and your future spouse are together thinking about a premarital agreement, it is vital to look at the pros and cons at the outset. The experiences of a family law attorney can be very helpful and it is paramount each partner consults a different attorney from different law firms, to make sure the rights and interests of each partner are represented.

Source:

“Pros and Cons: Prenuptial Agreements.” Findlaw, family.findlaw.com/marriage/pros-and-cons-premarital-agreements-prenuptials.html.

Contact Our Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers in Scottsdale

Consulting with a talented Scottsdale prenuptial agreement lawyer or family law attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in drafting and litigating premarital agreements will save you a great deal of grief and expense in the future. Contact Canterbury Law Group today.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

How To Get Emergency Child Custody In Arizona

You may need to seek emergency child custody in Arizona (also known as legal decision making) when a situation threatens your child or children’s well-being. There are a specific set of guidelines you will need to adhere to in order to obtain emergency child custody in Arizona.

What Is an Emergency Child Custody Order?

A temporary order or emergency child custody order temporarily grants one parent or the other sole physical and legal custody for the child or children in question.

The order gives all the power to make decisions to the person or party who has the physical custody of the child or children for a limited amount of time until the court can hear the full case. Normally, the court only advances these orders into place when the child or children is facing potentially irreparable or significant harm.

Is Emergency Custody Something I Qualify For?

Emergency custody is not easy to obtain because the burden of proof must be carried by the person or party who petitioning for the temporary order.  The chances of obtaining emergency custody orders are exceptionally low, and you should expect to lose your motion.  Most judges will deny the initial ‘emergency’ motion for custody orders and instead set the matter for a normal hearing schedule where both sides can brief the issues and present live testimony at an evidentiary hearing.

Therefore, it is important the petitioner presents evidence that is substantial in order to document the situation to show it is a true emergency. This is where the services are of a family law attorney can be invaluable. Filing for temporary custody orders is not something you should take lightly. However, it is certainly a valid option if you think a child or children are at risk of imminent bodily harm or the welfare, safety, and health of a child or children is in serious jeopardy.

Another qualifying factor is you must also be concurrently filing a petition that would change the custody of the child or children. For example, a concurrent parenting time modification request, paperwork for a divorce or a change in legal decision-making responsibilities. The paperwork may already be pending, or it can be filed at the same time as your motion for temporary orders.

Penalties For False Claims

All filings to the Court are filed under penalty of perjury.  Petitions to the court are considered to be very serious by the court system. Frivolous filings will result in short-shrift from the system if there is not a genuine emergency. It is not acceptable to file a motion on the grounds that you may just be mad at the other parent. Indeed, the judge may find you in contempt of court and order you to pay the court costs as well as the costs and legal fees the other party has had accrued if the reason for the petition turns out to be false or unsubstantiated.

What Is The Length Of Emergency Child Custody In Arizona?

If your motion for temporary custody orders is granted, the order will only last until the court can schedule a more lengthy hearing that will decide custody on a more permanent solution.  While courts will usually host the next hearing within 30 days, and sometimes as quickly as 2 weeks, depending on the availability of the Court. See Title 25-404 for more details.

Guidelines For Filing For An Emergency Custody Order Of A Child Or Children In Arizona

In Arizona, there is a rule known as “Rule 48.” The rules say if two conditions are met, emergency custody of a child or children may be granted without the need to notify the other party. The two rules are:

  1. The person making the emergency custody request or the child or children may be at risk of harm if notice is given to the other person.
  2. There have been unsuccessful attempts at giving notice.

Temporary Filing Custody Steps

1. Filling Out The Paperwork

You can obtain the forms and instructions for filing them in Maricopa County here.

When you read the paperwork, it will clearly explain why the order is needed and to explain why there is an emergency situation. You do need to make sure this situation is truly an emergency before proceeding – you have to include as much evidence and factual detail as you possibly can. During this process of assembling facts to prove there is an emergency, the assistance of an attorney can be very important.

The form must be signed and dated in front of a notary public. You will be able to take care of this at the court.

2. Copy The Paperwork

All told you will have four copies of the paperwork. The original that you keep and three copies that you leave behind with the Clerk of Court after you file.

3. Filing The Papers At The Court

Take the four copies of your paperwork to the clerk of the court. You can use this website to find out where your paperwork must be filed or if you need to ask further questions regarding the process.

What Takes Place In A Hearing For Emergency Custody?

The court will usually schedule the initial hearing with very little delay – often without the other parent being present. You will have to present the evidence you have been able to gather and present it under penalty of perjury. Examples of this can include:

  • Photos
  • Sworn statements
  • Testimonies from agencies such as Child Protective Services
  • Medical Records

The judge will have to decide if there is sufficient evidence and if so, they will then issue an emergency order. The order will stand until a follow-up hearing where the other party is able to present evidence that defends against the allegations made against your evidence. This timeframe will differ from court to court depending on how busy the court dockets are.

Resources:

Sources:

“How Do I Get Emergency Custody In Arizona?” Arizona Legal Center, 5 Nov. 2018, arizonalegalcenter.org/emergency-custody-arizona/.

Speak With One Of Our Child Custody Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s child custody lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with personal attention and we always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. We can help with legal guardianshipchild relocationfathers rightsgrandparents rights, and more. Call today for an initial consultation!

We are experienced family law attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Our firm will fiercely represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Can A Father Get Full Custody?

In 2013, new statutes and child custody laws were introduced by the Arizona Legislature. From January 1 of that year, some popular terms (still frequently used) were changed. In our article, there are still references to the more popularly used terms. For example, the terms, “child custody,” “sole custody”, and “joint custody” became “legal decision making”, “sole legal decision making” and “joint legal decision making.” This new statute also changed “child visitation” to “parenting time.”

This means parents now get “sole legal decision making” with “parenting time” rights. or they may get “joint legal decision making” and “parenting time.” “Sole legal decision making” may be given by a court to one parent – so that parent, for example, can be responsible for making major decisions regarding the medical care of the child – at the same time, the other parent has “sole legal decision making” giving them authority to make educational decisions for the child or children.

How Do I Find a Father’s Rights Attorney Near Me?

If you are in the Scottsdale area, our Father’s Rights Attorneys can help! Our Father’s Rights lawyers will address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

Can A Father Get Full Custody In Arizona?

Generally speaking, most courts will prefer that both parents share child custody (legal decision making). However, there are some situations where a court might grant full custody to the father. But, you should be prepared for a child custody battle if the mother is also seeking sole legal decision making.

It is understandable to procrastinate from filing because of concerns with child custody. Custody laws in Arizona are applied by one judge, not a jury, who will make a determination if joint custody or sole custody will be awarded to the parents of the child or children. The initial step in this process is accepting that you are filing for divorce or responding to a petition for a dissolution of marriage is to examine the various scenarios that can arise with child custody and developing an understanding of child custody laws in Arizona. From that point, you can then make a determination as to how you may be able to win full custody of your child or children and know how you can prepare for the upcoming child custody case.

Getting Full Custody In Arizona

Under child custody laws in Arizona, sole custody is now known as “sole legal decision making” – meaning one person has the sole legal custody of the children or child. This specific individual has the responsibility for making major decisions regarding the care of the child or children for medical care, academics, religion and personal care (e.g. tattoos, piercings).

Arizona child custody laws permit both parents having input into issues that arise but the designated parent (by the court) is the “sole legal decision maker” and makes the final decision if both parents cannot come to an agreement. Child support and legal decision making are totally unrelated under Arizona law. Obtaining sole custody of the child or children does not alter the obligation of child support – that is decided (in part) by the amount of time you spend with your child or children. What are the chances of a Father Getting Full Custody?

Joint Custody vs Sole Custody In Arizona

Under Arizona law, there is no legal presumption favoring one parent or one gender. This means the court often decides both parents should make decisions 50%/50%.  In these cases, “Joint Legal Decision Making” means both parents share the important decision-making for the child or children on an equal footing. In turn, most courts will view a 50%/50% “Equal Parenting Time” arrangement the most common solution for most divorces.  The physical custody (including control of the child or children) are equally distributed between the parents holding joint physical parenting time or on some other agreed schedule of parenting that best serves the interests of the child or children.

It is understandable for people to be concerned about the outcome of the case when they are in the middle of the divorce process. Obviously, one of the most significant disputed issues is child custody. However, once you understand the kinds of custody the court may consider- it is vitally important to recall the law has no preference to a single form of custody over another. Neither does the court prefer one parent ahead of the other because of the gender of the parents.

What You Need to Prove to Get Sole Custody

Sole legal decision making, or sole legal custody, sometimes known as full custody will be considered when it is in the best interests of the child or children in Arizona. You can file for sole custody when you think joint custody is not appropriate for your situation. If sole custody is granted by the court, it would mean you have the authority to make all post-decree decisions regarding educational, religious and medical issues for the child or children concerned in the divorce.

Here are some reasons the court may grant sole custody:

  • History of child abuse
  • History of alcohol or drug abuse
  • History of domestic violence
  • History of and current mental health problems.
  • Criminal history.

When your spouse has any or all of those issues, you may want to think about a request for the sole custody of your child or children. Taking into account the best interests of your child or children, the court will then make a determination to decide whether to award sole custody. Read more about how to get custody of a child in Arizona.

Source:

  1. How to Get Sole Custody in Arizona | Hildebrand Law, PC.” Scottsdale Arizona Family Law & Divorce Attorneys, www.hildebrandlaw.com/child-custody-laws-in-arizona-2/how-to-get-sole-custody-in-arizona.aspx.
  2. Rau, Alia Beard. “New Child Custody Law Begins Jan. 1.” Azcentral.com, 25 Dec. 2012, archive.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20121220new-chidl-custody-law-january.html.

Speak with Our Father’s Rights Attorneys In Scottsdale

Our Father’s Rightschild custody, and guardianship attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

We are experienced family law attorneys and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Can I Travel Out Of State If I Have Joint Custody?

Travel is an enjoyable family activity, broadening the mental and physical horizon for adults and children. But it can be stressful following a divorce. Before traveling out of state with a child or children, you will need to get consent from the other legal guardians. Read on to learn how this can be achieved.

May I Travel With My Children Out Of State Or Overseas?

The parenting plan or custody order should have a section covering how travel with a child or children is to be handled once you are divorced. There are generally two options:

  • The existing court order may not have a requirement that parents have to obtain permission from one another for out of state traveling.
  • The existing court order will have consent requirement provisions when parents wish to go traveling with their child or children either out of state and/or abroad.

It is an excellent idea to obtain permission from the other parent or guardian even if it is not required by the court order. If you have an agreement in writing, it may be of primary importance if disputes or disagreements rise their heads at a later date. In circumstances where you are unsure of the requirements contained in the court order, the best course of action is to seek the advice of a family law professional before drawing up any plans to go traveling.

Required Co-Parent Documentation

Creating a travel consent letter for the co-parent of your child or children is not difficult but does need to be accurate. Here are the essentials it needs to include:

  • Who is going to be traveling with the child or children
  • A list of the full legal names of everyone whose permission or consent is required
  • Primary and secondary phone numbers of everyone whose permission or consent is required
  • Ensure the document includes whether permission is for out of state travel or overseas travel
  • Make sure the letter states the destination or destinations you are visiting and when as well as other travel plans
  • Include full trip itineraries and dates

It is highly advisable all parents sign the child or children travel consent letter in front of a notary and get it notarized.

Traveling With Sole Legal Custody Of My Child Or Children

It may not be required that parents with sole legal custody need permission to travel out of state or overseas. That said, US Customs & Border Control strongly suggest all parents and guardians carry the relevant documentation to confirm their sole legal custody of the child or children.

Documentation For My Child Or Children

The father can seek court-ordered visitation if he has yet to lose visitation rights to his child (or children.) There are situations unrelated to the financial support of the child or children, where a father can lose custody and rights of visitation. A court may view a prolonged absence of the father as neglect or abandonment. The court has the power to enact the termination of the father’s parental rights. In this case, the father would not be able to exercise the right of child custody or child (or child) visitation.

Passports

If you are leaving the US for another country, your child will require a passport. Under US law, for a child under the age of 16, it is mandatory both parents provide their consent when obtaining a passport for a child or children under the age of sixteen. It is recommended by the State Department that all parents (and legal guardians, if appropriate) are present when completing the application for the child or children’s passport.

In circumstances where parents share joint legal custody, if one parent is not available, permission may be granted by completing this form.

When parents have what is known as sole legal authority providing they can provide evidence of this, they can apply for a passport for their child or children without permission or consent from the other parent.

Required Destination Documents

Many countries require additional documentation for a child or children to visit and it is the responsibility of the parent to research what is required regardless of whether they are traveling with one or both parents. For example, when traveling to Canada, you are required to have the birth certificate of your child or children, a co-parent letter of authorization (with specific information included) and copies of the legal custody documents. Realize your plans may be held up or you may not be able to travel at all if you cannot provide the demanded documentation when traveling abroad.

Not Agreeing On Travel Plans

Parents should never disregard the mandatory requirement to get permission/consent from the other parent if they are traveling out of state or overseas with their child or children. Not only may this make you in contempt of court, but if you do go overseas without having obtained the proper permissions and authorizations, in some circumstances this may be considered to be an act of parental kidnapping.

Sources

“Permission to Travel Out of State with a Minor Child.” Our Family Wizard, www.ourfamilywizard.com/blog/permission-to-travel-out-of-state-with-a-minor-child.

Speak With Our Family Law Attorneys In Scottsdale

Our Father’s Rightschild custody, and guardianship attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

We are experienced family law attorneys and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

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