Child Custody and Support

Child Support Guidelines

Federal law requires each state to adopt some form of child support guidelines. Courts in each state are required to follow the guidelines in establishing child support obligations.

Emergency Jurisdiction Issues in Child Custody Proceedings

Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA), a court may exercise jurisdiction when it is necessary to protect a child, the child’s parent, or the child’s sibling.

Former Stepparent Visitation Rights

A stepparent is considered a legal stranger to a child and is not automatically entitled to visitation rights. However, where a close relationship between the child and the stepparent has been established, a court will consider granting rights of visitation and in some case, stepparents have been awarded legal custody.

Medical, Psychological and Social Evaluations for Child Custody Awards

Prior to making a determination of custody of a child, the court may order a medical, psychological, or social evaluation of the child or the parents, or all of them. As part of the evaluation, the court may request that the doctor, psychologist, or other professional expert give a report and make a recommendation as to custody and visitation.

Types of Discovery Applicable in Child Custody Proceedings

Discovery is the process during the course of a legal action by which the parties to a lawsuit obtain information about the situation underlying the litigation and the factual and legal underpinnings of the other party’s case. Rules of civil procedure in the courts of various jurisdictions regulate the discovery process in civil cases. Discovery procedures can be made use of in child custody proceedings arising out of a divorce between parties with a minor child or children as well as in other types of legal actions.