Sep 14

You’ve Established Paternity. Now What?

Establishing paternity is important for your child. After all, he or she deserves a right to know who their father is. When it comes to establishing paternity, you typically have two options. First, if the father agrees that he is the father, all you will need to do is have him or her sign a form (assuming this is accepted in your state). If the father does not believe he is the father, or if you are unsure of whom the father is, a blood test is typically performed.

Most mothers typically establish paternity for a few specific reasons. The first reason is to simply be able to tell their child honestly who their father is, and hopefully, allow their child to build a relationship with this individual. Other reasons that mothers establish paternity is to help their child learn about any health issues they may have/get from their father or his lineage. Some mothers also establish paternity so that they can receive monetary help for raising the child, whether through joint custody agreements or child support.

Once paternity has been established, you may question what you’re supposed to do with the information. After you officially know who the father of your child is, you can use the information to do the following.

 Talk with the father about his desires.

Once paternity has been established, it’s important that you first have a conversation with the father to determine what he wants to do with this information. You may find that the father wants to be in his child’s life, and then you can both work out a plan that allows you to determine the best action plan for this situation. You may also find that the father wants nothing to do with the child, and in this case, you need to determine your next steps.

 Give the father time to build a relationship with your child.

If the father wants to be in the child’s life, help the father of your child build a relationship with your child. Give them time to meet one another and spend some time together. The bond between a father and a child is special and important to your child’s development, so try and strengthen this bond as much as possible.

 Create a custody arrangement.

If the father wants to be in the child’s life, it’s best to create a custody arrangement. This can be done on your own, through a mediator, or with a family lawyer. A custody arrangement will create a legal binding between you and the father that determines type of custody (sole or joint) as well as visitation and holiday schedules.

 Move on.

If the father doesn’t want anything to do with the child, it’s up to you to determine how to move on. For example, you may simply decide to keep the man out of your child’s life by completely removing contact and raising your child on your own. If you want the father to be responsible for the child even if he doesn’t want to, you can weigh your legal options to determine if it’s best to take him to court in order to receive child support payments or other benefits.

Sep 14

Is it Time to File for Child Custody

As a parent, you will do anything to protect your child, even though it may be difficult to do.

During divorce, child custody becomes a very hot topic. Parents often struggle to find the right solution for their custody arrangements, as neither parent usually wants to give up rights or time with their own child.

Sometimes parents get into custody battles just to be spiteful or to fulfill their own agenda. This is not a reason to file for custody of your child. After all, it’s not fair to your child to keep them from their other parent just because you feel slighted or sad.

Sometimes, though, taking custody of your child is the best thing you can do for your child’s well being. If you’re in a similar situation, the following are some examples of when it is definitely time to file for child custody.

 The other parent is ill.

Parents need to prove that they are healthy enough to care for their child. If one parent is ill, either mentally or physically, it can have an impact on their ability to parent a child. If your spouse is ill, you can file for sole custody of your child. Keep in mind that you will need to collect medical records and other documents that prove the declining health of your spouse in order to influence the judge’s decision.

 The other parent cannot provide stable housing.

As a parent, it’s important that you provide a stable home for your child. This means keeping a roof over their head at all times, as well as keeping a home in a safe neighborhood. If the other parent is struggling to keep a stable home, or is currently residing in an unsafe neighborhood, you can use this to file for sole custody of your child. Again, you will need documentation proving your ex’s inability to provide a safe and stable home for the child.

 The other parent is a threat to your child.

If the other parent has any history of abuse, you can file for sole custody. It doesn’t matter if your ex abused drugs or alcohol, or if they were a physical or sexual abuser. Any form of abuse is a reason to keep your ex away from your child.

Even with drug and alcohol abuse, you don’t want to put your child in a situation where they may be tempted to use drugs or alcohol, and you certainly don’t want them around the other parent if they are drunk or high.

Be prepared to collect police records, hospital records, and any witness testimony that will help to back your case.  In most cases of abuse, the judge will grant sole custody.

Before filing for sole custody of your child, be sure you have a valid reason. Most judges will try to at least allow visitation or join custody, except when the situations, like those mentioned above, are sever.

Sep 14

Why You Shouldn’t Put Your Kids in the Middle of Your Divorce

Children and divorce do not go hand in hand. Far too often, children do experience divorce, but having parents get divorced and actually being dragged through a divorce trial are two entirely separate items, both of which create separate memories for your child.

As a parent going through divorce, you obviously want to be the one “awarded” custody, so you may go to extra lengths to ensure that your spouse gets the short end of the stick. These lengths may include putting your kids in the middle of your divorce, and that is, without a doubt, completely and utterly irresponsible and unacceptable. Here’s why.

 Children want to feel important.

When you drag a child through a divorce, your focus isn’t about them, but about “beating” the other parent at the divorce game. Your child wants to be important to you for who they are, not what advantage they can bring to the table. Prove to your child that you love him or her by putting their feelings first and keeping them uninvolved in the divorce proceedings.

 Children don’t want to feel guilty.

During a divorce, children will often feel guilty, even though they shouldn’t. Children, especially younger children, will often feel like the divorce was their fault or that they could have prevented it somehow. When you drag your child through the divorce, these feelings only become worse. Not only should you keep your child away from the divorce, but you should also talk openly with your child and remind and assure them that the divorce is not their fault, and that you and their other parent will still love them unconditionally, even under separate roofs.

 Children don’t want to take sides.

Your child wants to love you and your spouse equally, and it’s important that you remember your ex is still a parent, and they deserve your child’s love. When you drag a child through a divorce, they will often feel as if they need to choose sides, and this is not fair to your child. Instead, try to create the best possible custody agreement that allows your child to spend time with both parents. This way, they will not feel like they’re choosing sides.

 Children don’t want to be the messenger.

Although you may dislike your ex, it’s very important that you keep all matters of your divorce between you and your ex and not the child. Your child doesn’t need to hear how you truly feel about their mom or dad, and they don’t need to be a spy for you or the other parent either. If you want to keep your child happy, refrain from talking bad about your ex in front of your child, and never argue with your ex in front of the child. And if you must communicate with your ex, make sure you do it yourself and don’t ask your child to get involved.

 Children hold onto their emotions.

When you drag a child through a divorce, you force them to have certain feelings and emotions. These emotions could bottle up inside your child until they explode, or they could even lead toward resentment. For the safety and well being of your child, keep them out of your divorce.