When deciding on which parent should be granted custody of the children, the court will consider the best interest of the children. Usually the parents — they determine who will have “primary custody” of the child. If they can’t decide on their own, the court decides for them. Its decision must be in “the best interests of the child,” a term often applied in relation to legal matters involving young people. Married parents have both “physical” and “legal” custody of their minor children. Physical custody means the parents are responsible for their children’s immediate personal needs such as food, clothing, and shelter; legal custody means they are responsible, legally and financially, for their children’s safety, education, and actions with respect to others. When parents divorce, one parent — the “custodial parent” — usually receives both primary physical custody and primary legal custody of the children, except when the parents agree to share physical custody, legal custody, or both. The noncustodial parent is generally given visitation rights. This is done to ensure that the non-custodial parent continues to retain touch with the children. If you need assistance with child custody and visitation rights, contact the Thomas Hogan Law Office in Modesto, CA.
Speak to one of our expert Modesto family law attorneys and avail of our FREE 15-minute consultation. Call us at (209) 492-9335.
Modesto Family Law: Visitation Rights
Visitation rights belong to the non-custodial parent, not the child. Courts grant visitation to the non-custodial parent except in cases in which it wouldn’t be in the child’s best interests. In most situations the child can be required to have supervised visitations, particularly, if the custodial parent has turned the child against the other parent. In a 1983 case a court permitted a father to visit his 11-year-old daughter against her wishes after the court declared that the mother had been “poisoning her daughter’s mind against her father. Courts will forbid a parent to have contact with a child only if spending time together isn’t in the child’s best interests. These days, very few judges would limit visitation rights solely because the non-custodial parent lives with someone else outside of the marriage. Speak to an experienced Modesto custody attorney to know more about your visitation rights as the non-custodial parent.
Modesto Child Custody: Suspension of Visitation Rights
Just because the court has granted visitation rights to noncustodial parent, it does not mean that it is a permanent order that cannot be changed or modified. If it appears that the noncustodial parent might not return the child at the end of a visit, the court has the power to suspend the parent’s visitation rights or revoke them altogether. Courts will also suspend or revoke visitation rights if the noncustodial parent physically injures the child or threatens to. If the noncustodial parent abused a child during marriage, his or her visits usually are both short and supervised. Many courts regard sexual promiscuity of the non-custodial parent as grounds for denying visitation. Whether or not the non-custodial parent pays child support is irrelevant for the purpose of visitation rights. If you are the custodial parent and you believe that the non-custodial parent will not return the child after the visit or that the visitation rights is not in the best interest of the child, speak to an experienced Modesto family law attorney to know your options. Contact the Thomas Hogan Law Office.
Grandparents and Visitation
In response to political pressure by ‘Grandparents’ Rights’ groups, most states of the Union now have passed some form of visitation rights legislation. The purpose of the visitation rights statutes is to offer grandparents an independent right of action that is not contingent on the rights already given to the child’s parents. Grandparents can now utilize state habeas corpus proceedings to ask for an impartial evaluation of their request for visitation privileges with their grandchildren. The decision-making power of determining what is ‘in the best interests of the child’ is thus shifted from the parents to the courts. In California, even great grandparents can request visitation rights. Courts will not automatically grant visitation rights to a grandparent. In many cases, the custodial parent may oppose any visitation application filed by the grandparents. Seek the assistance of an experienced Modesto family law attorney if you are a grandparent seeking custodial and visitation rights. Contact the Thomas Hogan Law Office.
Custody and visitation rights cannot be denied simply because of sexual preference. Basically, the courts reason that sexual preference is relevant to custody questions only if there is evidence of some harm to the child. In other words, these courts state that homosexuality “does not ipso facto constitute unfitness for custody.” One court went so far as to say that sexual preference by itself is irrelevant to a consideration of parenting skills. Courts have placed various limits on homosexual parents when granting custody and visitation rights. If you are a gay parent seeming custody or visitation rights, contact the Thomas Hogan Law Office.
Adoption involves complex legal issues. Hire the services of an experienced adoption attorney to guide you through the process. If your adoption does not comply with the legal requirements, it can be set aside by a court of law. Don’t let this happen to you. Contact the Thomas Hogan Law Office.
For a free fifteen minute consultation with our expert Modesto Adoption Attorney call us at (209) 492-9335.
Modesto Adoption Agencies
For those who wish to adopt, children can be obtained either from a public agency, a licensed private agency, or from independent sources. Some private agencies primarily place children from abroad. The majority of public adoption agencies, which are usually part of a state or city social services unit, place special-needs children. Usually, these children can be placed soon after a home study is completed. Most of these agencies have networks all over the United States and Canada and link children to a large pool of parents. Private agencies, which are set up by nonprofit organizations, may be nonsectarian or affiliated with a religious denomination. When you are dealing with an agency, it is important to ensure that the agency is licensed in your state.
Modesto Family Law: The Adoption Process
Generally, the formal adoption process with a licensed agency begins with an application by the couple to the agency. After the application is completed, medical examinations and other documents are required. Meetings between the adoption worker and the family take place on a one-to-one basis or in a group with other prospective adopting parents. During these interviews, future adoptive parents can be helped to discuss their feelings about adoption and about being parents. Initial questions that parents need to be able to ask comfortably include: What are the requirements that might eliminate them? What is the waiting time for a child of their choice? What is the procedure of that particular agency? Are pre- and post adoption services available?
The risks of independent adoption can be overcome if the birth parents’ lawyer informs the biological mother that she, too, should have a lawyer, if home studies are mandated before a child is placed, and if the parents stay within the limits of the law. Genetic and background family information and pre- and post-adoptive services are possible in independent adoptions as well. Lawyers can research appropriate resources and provide them to all parties in the adoption. The advantage of an independent adoption, where, with the birth mother’s consent, a baby can be transferred as soon as it is born to the prospective adoptive parent’s home, allows for earlier bonding between the adoptive parents and the new child.
In a foreign adoption, prospective parent applicants probably should select an agency that will do the home study, the child placement, and the post-placement supervision. Usually, such an agency will have its own overseas programs or will have contacts with orphanages and lawyers overseas with whom it works for placing children in the United States. The agency will provide information on the programs, the costs, the time frame, and the kinds of children that are available. Agency staff will also assist in the preparation of documents and in communication with overseas sources. Often these agencies have programs in several different countries. A less preferable alternative are agencies present in some areas that only provide home studies and post-placement supervision but do not have any international adoption contacts. In this situation, the applicant has to find an agency out of the area having a foreign adoption program which accepts a home study done by the local agency—a procedure that is more complicated because it requires long distance communication.
Call us for a free consultation
You can avail a free fifteen-minute consultation with our Modesto Family Law Attorneys. Give us a call at (209) 492-9335 and we will schedule a consultation at your most convenient time.
Thomas Hogan Law Modesto, CA 1207 13th St. #1 Modesto, CA 95354 Tel. No.: (209) 492-9335 Business Hours: Monday to Friday 9AM-6PM