To make sure that your child will not suffer much from the impact of your divorce, you and your ex-spouse should understand the applicable child custody laws as a custodial or non-custodial parent. You have to know the nature and your share of rights and obligations in terms of your child’s upbringing. Doing so can be very challenging, so here are some tips to guide you through understanding the legal conditions that govern your custody of your child.
Consult the court of jurisdiction
To understand custody laws, you must consult first the court of jurisdiction. Custody laws vary from state to state. For example, a non-custodial parent needs to file a lawsuit against the custodial parent who does not follow the visitation rules ordered by the court. However, in another state, the non-custodial parent is allowed to have a warrant served for the custodial parent.
The court of jurisdiction does not immediately change when the custodial parent takes along the child to another state. So, for instance, even though the arrangements for child support were created in Florida and the custodial parent and the child have moved to Arkansas, the custody laws in Florida still prevails. You can request for the transfer of court of jurisdiction, with the approval of the other parent.
Seek help from support groups
You can reinforce your understanding of custody laws by asking for help from several support groups. You may opt to join the Children Rights Council (CRC) in your state. CRC members get legal help from volunteer lawyers who make them understand their rights and obligations as parents. If there’s something in the laws that you do not understand, ask the lawyers to shed some light on it. Several support groups for single fathers and single mothers are also available.
Even if you and your former partner are divorced, there are ways to ensure that your child gets adequate love, care, and attention from both of you. Your knowledge and understanding of the custody laws come in handy should conflicts and disagreements about your child’s upbringing arise.