By: Valerie E. Anias, Esq.
You and the other parent have a child together. You separate or break up but never file any court action. What are your rights? What about the other parent? What many people don’t know is that in the absence of a court order both parents have an equal right to legal custody and physical custody of their minor child. On this week’s #FamilyFriday article the attorneys of ERA Law Group, LLC want to help clear up some common misconceptions.
MISCONCEPTION #1: The children always stay with mom. While this is the most common situation and arrangement, this is certainly not the “only” arrangement. Fathers have a 100% equal right to be the primary custodial parent just like mothers.
MISCONCEPTION #2: Fathers have less rights. Not true. Fathers and mothers have equal rights with regard to their children. Both relationships are important.
MISCONCEPTION #3: We share expenses. I don’t have to pay child support. Just because you and the other parent can amicably split the child’s daycare costs, for example, does not negate the award of child support. You and the other parent may have an agreement that works but if that agreement doesn’t work and if a parent decided to file an action for child support it is likely that child support would be ordered.
MISCONCEPTION #4: Visitation means “every other weekend.” Not necessarily. Especially so if you don’t have school aged children. More often we are seeing alternative schedules providing both parents with nearly equal time. Living separate does not necessarily mean you spend less or more time with your child than the other parent.
MISCONCEPTION #5: We get along great! We don’t need a written agreement or Court Order. Perhaps you and the other parent do work well together. But what happens if that stops? The purpose of a Court Order or an agreement, is to settle disputes that have occurred and to prevent future disputes from arising. You and the other parent may get along now but what if there’s a dispute later about where to send the child to school? How to pay for extracurriculars? How to have an access schedule when one parent lives 50 miles away? Having a written agreement or Court Order can prevent some of these issues from ruining the amicable arrangement you have now.
Call ERA Law Group, LLC attorney Valerie Anias, Esq. at (410) 919-1790 and ask about our fixed fee Separation Agreements, Parenting Plans, and FREE 30 MINUTE CONSULTATION!