Category Archives: Child Custody

The BEST thing you can do for your CHILD…

In Family Law the “best interest of the child” is the paramount concern for the Court.  When parents are feuding over custody, or child related matters, the Court is charged with deciphering what is in the best interest of the child by determining the facts of a particular situation and how those facts relate to a list of certain factors.  This is called an Albright Analysis (previously blogged).

However,  while this may result in the Court determining which parent is in the best interest of the child- it only ultimately results in a comparison of the two and does not indicate what act/actions are in the best interest of the child.  In English, this means the Court picks the better parent, but it does not automatically mean that the favored parent is a great parent.  Rather it just means they were better than the alternative.

So, what is a great parent?  A parent that reads to their young child, provides for their education, health and general welfare.  A parent that has fun with their child and encourages creative thinking and activities.  Well, yes.  All of these are factors in good parenting.

But what is the best thing that YOU can do for your child?  Love them. Sure, but in addition, LOVE the other parent.

What?  That creep?  Yes.  Loving the other parent means you make sure the other parent is in that child’s life in a meaningful way.  Loving the other parent means you are not denigrating them to the child or others.  Loving the other parents means you do not do anything to cause your child to not love the other parent.

I see the opposite too much!  One parent hates the other.  They try to punish the other parent by restricting their access to the child. This is wrong. (There may be circumstances that warrant this, but they are rare and are usually temporary.)

What is the BEST thing you, as a parent, can do for your Child?   LOVE the other parent enough to let them have a relationship with the child.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer 

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@BowTieLawyer.ms

black-bow

It’s “ok” to LIE to your Children.

It never fails.  One of the aggrieved parties to a divorce tells the dirty details to the child regarding the other parent.  This is never appropriate or “ok.”  Never. Never to a young child. What about when….? No. Never.

But that parent, with their righteous indignation tells me, or testifies, “I do NOT lie to my child?”  My response?  “Well, what about the Tooth Fairy?

digitalart/ freedigitalphotos.net

We lie to our children a lot.  A LiveScience.com article stated it better, “Parents Lie to Children Surprisingly Often.”  This article concluded that parent’s lie to protect their child and lie to preserve some semblance of innocence and childhood for their children.  These are all good things.

The Tooth Fairy question gets that indignant parent every time.  There is no good reason to spill the beans about the other parent’s misdeeds to the child.  You should be telling them that “mommy” loves them very much.  Not that she cares more about dancing on a pole with bikers than being a decent mom, even if it’s true.  When the kids are older they will realize the truth and appreciate you all the more for allowing them to have a childhood and to love their other parent, even if the other parent did not deserve it.

It’s okay to lie to your children.  Who says so? Me, a divorce attorney.

Disagree? Tell me why in comments or via email.

 

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody Attorney in Mississippi and believes sometimes lying to your children is in their best interests.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer Visit the website: #Thompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

 

Changing your Court Papers; Custody vs. Visitation

Modification is the process that is used to change a Court Order.  We previously discussed how NOT to modify your papers here.

Below are the basics for the right way to modify your current Court Order.  Child Custody, Visitation and Child Support are always modifiable. However, each has a separate standard.  Each require that you prove something different…

1.  Child Custody is the most difficult to modify. The non-custodial parent, must demonstrate 1) a material change in circumstances,  2) adverse to the child, 3) in the home of the custodial parent.  In English, dad has to show that there has been a big change, harmful to the child and it was mom’s fault.  It does not matter how much better dad is doing.  It does not matter that he has a new job, making good money, and has remarried Mary Poppins.  The Standard concerns what is going on in mom’s house.

A material change could be bad grades, serious behavior problems, serious problems with mom or serious problem with mom’s new beau. Now, once you show the bad change, harmful to the child, and it’s mom’s fault, dad wins, right? No. That provides the Court the authority to go back through the Albright factors for the Court to determine which parent is in the best interest of the child.

2.  Child Support is modifiable upon a showing of  1) a material change in circumstances, unanticipated at the time of the Order and that either the 2) paying parent’s income has increased (or a non-voluntary decrease) in a meaningful capacity or that the 3) child’s reasonable needs and expenses have increased, or both an increase in income and needs.  It should be noted that Child Support is statutory, as noted here, and the paying parent’s responsibility to pay does not continue to increase, just because his/her income does.

3.   Visitation has the lowest standard to modify.  In order to modify visitation all one needs to do is demonstrate that the current schedule is not working.  This can be shown by showing that a party moved over several hours away making every other weekend unworkable or by showing that due to the child’s schedule, or a parent’s work schedule the visitation plan is not working.  This one is easier to pursue, but the outcome is not always predictable, so have a plan for what schedule will work if you are seeking to change it because of distance or a work schedule issue.

*Certain other aspects of Order’s can/may be modifiable as well; ie; alimony, other child benefits.

Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Child Custody Attorney and reminds you to follow your papers.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer  You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

img_3045