ADOPTION, CHILD SUPPORT, AND CHILD CUSTODY LAWS
There are many ways a state can play a role in deciding parental rights and responsibilities. Three common issues that every state can address are adoption, child support, and child custody. The following information analyzes the concepts generally; any specific questions should be directed to an experienced child support attorney.
Adoption is the legal process of birth parents voluntarily terminating their parental rights in order to create parental rights for adopted parents. Because adoption can be an emotional process, particularly for the birth parent(s), state adoption laws will take every precaution to ensure the birth parents have made a well thought out and final decision before their parental rights are terminated. Adoption law will typically require the birth parents to give consent after a waiting period, and even then they may have the opportunity to reconsider. Both birth parents will need to give consent even if they are not a couple at the time of the birth. Unless a father has shown no interest in the welfare of the child, he will have parental rights that will need to be voluntarily relinquished. The process of terminating parental rights under adoption law is carefully legislated, and any persons considering an adoption should contact an adoption attorney. An attorney will be able to explain the necessary waiting periods, and work with the birth parents to ensure they make a timely and final decision so the adoption can be complete and both families can move forward.
necessary, in absence of a separation agreement, a state court will decide child custody rights. Determining custody rights is a very emotional process that can be the most difficult aspect in the case of parental separation. As such, a child custody attorney familiar with local law should represent each party. Custody rights are typically assigned according to the best interest of the child standard; the court determines what parental scenario will best serve the child's needs and help the child maintain their lifestyle. Parent's rights are broken down into physical custody and legal custody (the right to make important decisions in the child's life). In most states, a court will try to accommodate both parents by giving the non-custodial parent visitation rights, and giving both parents equal legal custody to ensure both are involved in raising the child. Any parent facing a custody battle, should contact a child custody attorney for assistance and representation throughout the process.
When parents are separated the custodial parent will be granted child support rights for financial assistance from the non-custodial parent. Child support rights will vary depending on state child support law, but most states make support decisions with the child's best interest in mind. Factors a court considers when awarding child support rights include: income of the parents, lifestyle of the child, child's educational needs, or circumstances of the separation. When child support is at issue, both parents should work with a child support attorney familiar with local law in order to determine a fair child support payment.