Tag Archives: legal custody

Love your Child MORE than you Hate the Other Parent…

Your job as the parent is to do what is best for your child every time.

It can be hard to show grace to a spouse/other parent who does not deserve, but most of the time it is what is best for your child.

It does not mean that they are not held accountable, but what it does mean, is that short of placing your child in true danger, you encourage and promote a relationship between the child and the other parent.

Just not saying hateful things (like they do ) is not enough. Your child is half of them and half of you. If you convince them that the other parent is ALL bad, then you are telling your child that half of their identity is bad.

Exceptions, of course, are made for abuse and dangerous conduct, but those are the exceptions, not the rule.

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody lawyer in Mississippi and thinks the Family Law world needs a little more love.

(601)850-8000

Child Custody In Mississippi

There are 2 types of custody in Mississippi Chancery Courts.download.jpg

  1. Legal custody refers to the decision-making rights regarding your child’s health, education and general welfare.

Legal custody, most commonly awarded as “Joint Legal Custody,” requires that each parent keep the other parent reasonably informed of the child’s goings on. This includes not only health, education, and general welfare, but also school and activity schedules, medical appointments and any major matter regarding the child’s life

It requires that parents communicate and cooperate when it comes to making decision about the well-being of the child. It certainly includes informing the other parent if a move is anticipated.

Legal custody includes sharing the status of the child’s well-being and location in emergency situations.

If there is going to be a fight in a custody case it will be over Physical Custody.

2.) Physical Custody is different than Legal custody. Physical custody concerns which parent has actual, physical possession of the child.

Within Physical custody there are officially only 2 types;

1) Joint Physical custody which by statute means each parent spends a significant portion of time with the child (though it does not have to be 50/50); and much more common is the second type

2) (Sole) Physical custody to one parent, subject to the other parent’s visitation. This is far more common in Mississippi.  A lot of your Agreements may have the term “primary” in the physical custody language and some Judges even insist that it be specified, but “primary” has no statutory significance, meaning it is not a term that carries legal meaning.  Lawyers, including myself, still use the term however.

If the parents cannot agree on Custody the Court will conduct what is known as an “Albright Analysis.”  Albright v. Albright, 437 So. 2d 1003 (Miss. 1983), is a Mississippi case from the early 1980’s that lists 13 factors that the Court must consider when making an initial custody determination.  The specific facts of your case are considered as they relate to each factor and the Court makes a determination as to which factor favors which parent. The Court also determines how to weigh each factor. For instance, the sex of the child while considered, will likely not count as much as the continuity of care for the child. The paramount consideration is “the best interests of the child.

A court determines that by looking at the following factors:

1.       Age of the child.

2.       Health of the child.

3.       Sex of the child.

4.       Continuity of care prior to the separation.

5.    Which parent has the better parenting skills and the willingness and capacity to provide primary child care.

6.       The employment of the parent and the responsibilities of that employment.

7.       Physical and mental health and age of the parents.

8.       Emotional ties of parent and child.

9.       Moral fitness of the parents.

10.     The home, community and school record of the child.

11.     The preference of the child at the age sufficient to express a preference by law. (Must be at least 12, and it’s ONLY a preference)

12.     Stability of home environment and employment of each parent.

13.     Other factors relevant to the parent-child  relationship.

For additional information please click Dads Have Rights Too!

**Note, marital fault should not be used as a sanction in custody awards. Relative financial situations should not control since the duty to support is independent of the right to custody.  Differences in religion, personal values and lifestyles should not be the sole basis for custody decisions.

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody attorney in Mississippi and will fight for your custody and visitation rights.

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Are YOU a Terrible Parent?

Food, shelter and clothing are necessities and while providing them is the minimum, doing so alone does not make you a great parent.

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  • Do you encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent?
    • Just NOT badmouthing them does not make you a great parent. You should encourage and promote a good relationship.  Oh, and it’s required when parties have joint legal custody.
  • Do you withhold financial support from your child?
    • Money isn’t everything, but there is no excuse for not supporting your child.
  • Do you degrade the other parent to your child?
    • “I don’t lie to my child!” 1) Yes, you do. Everyday, to protect them. 2) Telling them how big a scoundrel the other parent is hurts the child. Half of their identity is from that scoundrel!
  • Do you prevent your child from seeing the other parent or interfere with the visitation?
    • Out of sight is NOT out of mind. Absence can make the heart grow fonder…

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody Lawyer in Mississippi and reminds you to not be a terrible parent.

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.

What do Hurricanes and Legal Custody have in Common?

Legal custody pertains to the decision making right regarding your child’s health, education and general welfare.

palms-in-the-storm-100156365

Legal custody, most commonly awarded as “Joint Legal Custody,” requires that each parent keep the other informed of the child’s goings on. This includes not only health, education, and general welfare, but also school and activity schedules, medical appointments and any major matter regarding the child’s life

It requires that parents communicate and cooperate when it comes to making decision about the well-being of the child. It certainly includes informing the other parent if a move is anticipated.

Legal custody includes sharing the status of the child’s well-being and location in emergency situations.  Chancery Courts require 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 are not always known for exercising common sense.  Hurricanes and Legal Custody require that you  keep the other parent informed on the well-being of the child.

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody attorney in Mississippi and routinely exercises common sense and encourages you to do so as well.

Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

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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Where Does Your Child Live? Child Custody

“I have Joint Custody.”

confident-father-and-son-duo-gesturing-thumbs-up-100177610.jpg

I hear this often,”…but I have Joint Custody!” However, the Court Order determines what you have.

There are 2 types of Custody in Mississippi Law. Legal Custody and Physical Custody.

Legal Custody is the decision-making right regarding the child related to their health, education and general welfare. It requires the parents to keep the other reasonably informed of the child’s goings-on.  It is commonly Joint Legal Custody, but this has no bearing on the schedule.

Physical Custody is where the child resides on a primary basis. Within Physical Custody there are typically 2 types. 1) One parent has Physical Custody subject to the other parent’s rights of visitation, or 2) Joint Physical Custody. Joint Physical Custody does not require it be a 50/50 time split, however it is defined as each parent spending a substantial amount of time with the child.

Joint Legal allows access to information and creates an obligation for consultation regarding issues concerning the child. Joint Physical is “Joint Custody.”

Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Child Custody attorney.

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

A Parent’s #1 Obligation

A parent has a moral and legal duty to promote a healthy, affectionate relationship between the child and the other parent!

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What?  You justify your conduct by saying, “I am not bad-mouthing him.”  But, just not bad-mouthing him is not enough.  You have an affirmative duty to promote a good relationship. (with rare exceptions for the health and safety of the child.)

Encourage, promote and truly desire a good relationship between your child and the other parent.  Your child will benefit!

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law & Divorce Attorney and reminds you that a child with two parents that get along and are involved is better than the alternative.

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

Physical Custody; An Albright Analysis

If there is going to be a fight in a custody case it will be over physical custody. Physical custody is different than Legal custody. Physical custody concerns which parent has actual, physical possession of the child. Within Physical custody there are officially only 2 types;

closeup-of-little-children-hands-doing-finger-painting-100389074

1) Joint Physical custody which by statute means each parent spends a significant portion of time with the child (though it does not have to be 50/50); and much more common is the second type

2) (Sole) Physical custody to one parent, subject to the other parent’s visitation. This is far more common in Mississippi.  A lot of your Agreements may have the term “primary” in the physical custody language and some Judges even insist that it be specified, but “primary” has no statutory significance, meaning it is not a term that carries legal meaning.  Lawyers, including myself, still use the term however.

If the parents cannot agree on Custody the Court will conduct what is known as an “Albright Analysis.”  Albright v. Albright, 437 So. 2d 1003 (Miss. 1983), is a Mississippi case from the early 1980’s that lists 13 factors that the Court must consider when making an initial custody determination.   The specific facts of your case are considered as they relate to each factor and the Court makes a determination as to which factor favors which parent. The Court also determines how to weigh each factor.  For instance, the sex of the child while considered, will likely not count as much as the continuity of care for the child. The paramount consideration is “the best interests of the children” A court should determine that by looking at the following factors:

1.       Age of the child.

2.       Health of the child.

3.       Sex of the child.

4.       Continuity of care prior to the separation.

5.    Which parent has the better parenting skills and the willingness and capacity to provide primary child care.

6.       The employment of the parent and the responsibilities of that employment.

7.       Physical and mental health and age of the parents.

8.       Emotional ties of parent and child.

9.       Moral fitness of the parents.

10.     The home, community and school record of the child.

11.     The preference of the child at the age sufficient to express a preference by law. (Must be at least 12, and it’s ONLY a preference)

12.     Stability of home environment and employment of each parent.

13.     Other factors relevant to the parent-child  relationship.

For additional information please click Dads Have Rights Too!

**Note, marital fault should not be used as a sanction in custody awards. Relative financial situations should not control since the duty to support is independent of the right to custody.  Differences in religion, personal values and lifestyles should not be the sole basis for custody decisions.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and will fight for your custody and visitation rights.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

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

Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

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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.