If you're looking for child custody forms then I know that you are going through a pretty traumatic time in your life right now!
But you're doing the right thing by trying to find out what you can do to prepare yourself for what comes next! My hope is that I can get you pointed into the right direction by understanding a little more about the process and what forms will help you prepare for that!
There are two kinds of child custody; legal custody and physical custody. As you are so well aware of child custody battles arise when two parents have made a decision to separate and/or divorce.
First it is important to understand that there are no child custody forms that can designate either physical or legal custody. Only a court can determine this. Child custody forms are available to help you prepare for that hearing.
Physical custody is obvious in that it determines who the child or children will live with. In some cases, physical custody may be considered joint. This simply means that based on the court's decision the child or children will live at one parent's house part of the time and then at the other parents house the other. This does not necessarily mean that it is divided equally. This is where U.S. Legal Forms can help by providing child custody forms that will ask you all the pertinent questions you will need to know going into a hearing. The good news is that U.S. Legal Forms sells forms like this to attorneys also. This could save you money prior to securing an attorney you could complete the questionnaire and then make your appointment with the lawyer.
Legal custody on the other hand signifies which parent, or parents if joint, can make decisions for the child's welfare. Simply put it allows the parent who has been awarded legal custody to determine the normal needs of a child, such as, medical, dental, school, participation in certain activities, etc. Most times legal custody is given to both parents with some exceptions. Those exceptions may be for the benefit of expediency. As an example, it does not necessarily require both parents to authorize emergency medical help. Some courts have even mandated that parents must meet with a mediator to determine more complex decisions for the child.
The U.S. Legal child custody forms should help you to sort many of the questions you have prior to moving forward. You are going to be asked everything from your income to more personal questions. It of course is extremely important to be honest even if you think that you can get away with it. As an example, if you are making a certain amount of money, you better put it down and not try and hide portions of it. Once a judge has determined you are not telling the truth about one thing then everything else is questionable. This is not the time to risk giving up your rights over a few dollars. Remember they are your children.
Looking past the court hearing it is also important to understand that visitation and child support are two different elements of the court's decision. If you are required to pay child support and the other parent is not allowing you visitation you are still required to pay it. The court will sort out the requirement of the parent who is not complying with the order. It generally the parent not complying will be held in contempt of court. The same is true if you are the parent with, physical custody and are not receiving child support you can't without visitation of the parent not paying the required support. Again, the courts can determine that the parent is in contempt. In some states they have all kinds of ways to encourage a parent to pay, such as, withholding a driver's license until the pay.
Do your homework!
Don't make the child pay for you and your spouse not being able to live together!
Thank you and may God bless you!
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