1) How Do I File for Child Custody and Child Support?
In order to file for child custody you will need to first file a legal document asking the court to determine custody and appoint you as party with primary custody of the child. The actual name of the legal document you need to file depends on your local jurisdiction.
Additionally, the correct legal pleading that you need to file depends on the circumstances of your individual case. For example,
Divorce: If you are married to the person and you are seeking to be granted primary custody of a child you had while married to that person, you should first file an Original Petition for Divorce.
Paternity Action: If you are the biological father of a child but did not appear on the birth certificate or you are the father of a child born during a marriage that is not your marriage.
Modification: If there was a previous Court order regarding the children that you are seeking to change the custody or child support amount ordered.
Support, Custody and Visitation Action: If you are not married, there is no prior order in place and the parties are named on the birth certificate.
2) If One Parent Has Full Custody Does the Other Need to Pay Child Support?
Child Support payments are intended to help provide for the large financial responsibilities that come with having a child. It is a court ordered amount of money paid to the custodial parent by the non-custodial parent.
When determining child support payment amounts, the court will generally consider the following factors:
It is important that you strictly follow the Court Order regarding allowing visitation.
However, you are not required to allow visitation if the court did not demand it. You do not have to give visitation if the other parent is demanding it, especially if they are threatening to withhold child support. Instead, the other parent should file for visitation.
4) What Can I Do If the State Has Custody of My Child?
If your rights as a parent have been terminated or are in the process of being terminated by the state, then it is important that you get into contact with an attorney immediately. Typically, you will only have a set amount of time to have the court that terminated your rights reconsider the termination. Once your rights as a parent have been permanently terminated then there is not much that you can do to regain custody of your child.
5) What Should Be Included in a Child Custody Agreement?
An Agreement is a document that outlines the child custody guidelines Child custody agreements generally include the following: