Category Archives: Child Custody

Footballs and Labradors: Wild Custody Battles & Compromises

With High School and College Football in full action it reminded me of some of the lighter, or at least non-traditional, custody battles that I have been involved in.

 

 

Season Football Tickets-  I was involved in a case where the parties were arguing over who got the season football tickets.

The tickets were secured by one party who had been getting them for years, but were actually paid for by the other party, so both felt they had a legitimate claim, additionally both genuinely wanted the tickets. It was not posturing by the wife to get a better deal or more support.  The solution was joint custody.

Each picked certain games that they would attend each year and on the ones that both wanted to attend they agreed to alternate even years and odd years to determine who got to go.  Another interesting aside was that there were 2 tickets for each game.  Who the guest would be was also an issue. Neither wanted the other to be able to take a bf/gf. The compromise there was that the other ticket would be used by a family member or a minor friend of the children. (Minor meaning under 21, not just small).  The custody of the tickets was one of the last issues to get resolved. It really did matter.

Dogs- In a similar vein, I have handled several cases involving pets.  Pets, under Mississippi law are considered personal property (like an item or thing), however the parties are free to treat pets as members of the family should they so elect, and many do.

The parties ultimately agreed on a week-on, week-off custody arrangement for the dog to be with each “parent.”  The agreement also addressed the expenses associated with the dog, including food, care and vet bills. Don’t forget those items!

Almost anything can be negotiated.

Labor Day and Visitation

With Labor Day approaching it is a good time to reflect on the contributions and achievements of American workers.  Those efforts are the reason we celebrate  Labor Day, and have since it became a Federal holiday in 1894.

Labor_day : Labor Day Design  with the handoff worker holding the wrench Stock Photo

Labor Day is also a good reminder for paying attention to visitation issues.  It is extremely common in the divorce agreements that I prepare that the non-custodial parent receive additional time, more than the every other weekends that seem “standard.”  I often include that the weekend extends through the Monday holiday.  This gives that parent additional time with the child of uninterrupted visitation.

In fact, I have a schedule of all Federal and State Holidays and routinely have this specifically addressed in custody/visitation agreements.  There is almost one Monday holiday in every month.  These times add up and provide both parents additional welcomed time with the child and perhaps, even, a much needed break.  Pay attention to the details when ironing out the specifics in a custody/visitation agreement and make sure you address the other holidays and not just the “big” ones.

Hurricanes and Legal Custody

Legal custody is the decision making right regarding your child.

An article about legal custody and hurricanes posted during a hurricane, how clever. But cleverness aside it does raise a significant issue in legal custody…

palms-in-the-storm-100156365

Legal custody, most commonly joint, requires that each parent keep the other parent informed of the child’s goings on. This includes, but is not limited to their health, education and general welfare.It requires that parents communicate and cooperate, within reason, when it comes to making decision about the well-being of the child. (Even if a parent has sole legal custody the other parent still has the right to be informed about the goings on of the child and has the right to access school and medical records pursuant to Mississippi law, 93-5-26)

SEC. 93-5-26. Noncustodial parent’s right of access to records and information pertaining to minor children.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, except those provisions protecting the confidentiality of adoption records and except for cases in which parental rights have been legally terminated, access to records and information pertaining to a minor child, including but not limited to medical, dental and school records, shall not be denied to a parent because the parent is not the child’s custodial parent if such parent’s parental rights have not been terminated by adoption or by a termination of parental rights proceeding.

Legal custody includes sharing the status of the child’s well-being and location in emergency situations. Madison County Chancery Court requires specific language that states;

“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that in the event of a threat, disaster, or other emergency, such as  a hurricane, which causes an emergency evacuation, any party who has custody of a mInor child (either physical custody or visitation) shall notify the other parent of the location and well-being of the minor as soon as reasonably possible.

While this should be common sense, divorced parties and warring parents are not always known for exercising common sense.  So please let the other parent know that the children are safe, where they are and how to contact them. 

Stay safe and stay dry.

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

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