There may be a hierarchy among paralegals by seniority, by area of specialization, or by the relative positions of the lawyer they work under (if they are assigned to a specific lawyer). In the same manner, lawyers frequently have a pecking order within the firm - although that order may be prioritized differently, base on the value of their clients' accounts, their affiliation with partners, etc.
But the paralegals always work for the attorneys - even if the paralegal is an independent contractor working as a virtual assistant for a remote attorney in an online working relationship.
Child custody rights are awarded to parents, step-parents, grandparents, and other legal guardians as determined by a family court judge. Legal judgments in child custody rights cases favor biological parents who are deemed suitable guardians. Child custody rights are awarded based on the best interests of the children involved. Child custody rights and responsibilities detail who will have legal and physical custody of the child. Child support payments will also be determined where applicable in child custody rights cases.
Child custody rights may be shared by both parents or, primary child custody rights may be awarded to one parent or legal guardian. Since the 1970s the family court will award child custody rights contingent with the best interests of the child. In the past, family courts used to favor mothers in child custody rights cases. This bias is still held by some family law judges though they will always make a fair assessment of a child's best interests when determining child custody rights.
In seven out of ten cases, child custody rights are awarded primarily to the mother of the children. Primary child custody rights are awarded to fathers less than ten percent of the time. Joint custody is awarded about twenty percent of the time meaning that child custody rights and responsibilities are shared by both parents. In most cases that do not involve abuse or neglect, parents will be free to determine the division of child custody rights as long as the arrangement is approved by a family court judge.
Parents can largely determine child custody rights when there are not major discrepancies in the terms sought by each party. Mediation is a process by which a neutral third party intercedes to facilitate decisions about child custody rights. When an agreement can be made through medications and approved by a judge, the terms of this parenting plan will be upheld. When there are disagreements over child custody rights, the case will be heard by a judge who will ultimately determine child custody rights.
When a judge hears a child custody rights case, s/he will take several factors into account when making a decision. Courts will often rely on the expert testimony of a psychologist who will evaluate child custody rights options by looking at a number of relevant factors. The following factors are taken into consideration when determining child custody rights: past parenting behavior, the age of the child, the child's preference, the amount of time a parent can dedicate to properly raising a child, household stability, financial considerations, and other specifics. Children may be allowed to testify at any age though special considerations are made for younger children.
Child custody rights involve both physical and legal rights and responsibilities. Physical child custody rights refer to who will actually take care of the child~ who the child will live and spend time with. Legal child custody rights refer to parental decision making power yielded over the major events of a child's life, such as education, health care, activities, religion, and the like.
CHILD VISITATION AGREEMENTS
Child visitation agreements are court-approved arrangements regarding the time a child spends with his or her non custodial parent after a divorce. When a divorce involves children, the court will decide the custody arrangements to meet the needs and interests of the children involved. In some cases, the court will award sole custody to one parent. More often, however, child custody will be shared between the parents and child visitation agreements will be created.
When joint custody is awarded to both parents, there are two types of custody involved: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make decisions which influence the child's life and physical custody is who the child actually lives with. Typically in a joint custody situation, one parent will have primary physical custody of the child and the other will have child visitation rights.
The divorcing parents have the legal right to determine the terms of child visitation agreements, so long as they are able to agree. This means that the parents have flexibility in deciding when the child will spend time with each parent, so long as child visitation agreements are approved by the family court. There are, however, several factors which prevent two parents from being able to successfully create child visitation agreements independent of the courts.
In some cases, like those involving violence or significant hostility, it is virtually impossible for two parents to agree to the terms of child visitation agreements. In other cases, the parents may have been successful in developing child visitation agreements, but there were problems in its implementation. When one parent is consistently late for child visitation, skips visits altogether, does not inform the custodial parent of where s/he is taking the child, or there is a hostile parent relationship, the court may intercede to implement child visitation agreements.
When the court determines child visitation agreements, the product is typically referred to as the child visitation schedule. Both parents are bound by the terms of court ordered child visitation agreements. Compliance with child visitation agreements is mandatory, even if the child does not wish to visit the non-custodial parent. The only exception to this rule is when the child's welfare is compromised.
Court ordered child visitation agreements will typically allow the non custodial parent to have the child every other weekend, some weekdays, and some holidays. In some cases, the court will declare that all non custodial parental visits be supervised by a neutral third party adult. At any time, a parent can request a court review of child visitation agreements to make necessary modifications. Again, child visitation agreements will always reflect the best interests of the children involved.
CUSTODY FOR FATHERS
Child custody for fathers following a divorce is one of the most important aspects of a dissolving marriage. Throughout history the legal presumptions about child custody for fathers has changed significantly. Before the twentieth century children were regarded as the property of their father. Under common law, child custody for fathers was commonly awarded, as children were considered a father's rightful property. A major shift occurred after this period in history, as family courts came to favor mothers in child custody cases. It was presumed that under normal circumstances, children did better when placed in the sole custody of their mothers.
This paradigm of thought shifted again after experts and lawmakers discovered that custody for fathers was worthy of equal credence. The legal system began to understand that, in many cases, children benefited most from having both parents in their lives growing up. Many family courts still hold the belief, however, that the primary caregiver during a marriage should remain the primary caregiver after a divorce.
As a result of this view on custody for fathers and mothers, moms are still awarded custody in seventy percent of all child custody cases. Joint custody for fathers and mothers is awarded about twenty percent of the time. Family law statistics show that sole custody for fathers is awarded less than ten percent of the time. Statistics from 1991 indicate that forty percent of all child custody cases allowed no custody for fathers, barring them from both visitation and access rights.
Currently, family law judges will award custody rights contingent with the best interest of the children involved. Sole or joint child custody for fathers will be awarded when a judge determined that the child would benefit most from that type of custody arrangement. Joint custody for fathers and mothers allows each parent to share rights and responsibility for the child(ren) as set forth in a parenting plan. A parenting plan will detail the rights of each parent with regards to who will make the major decisions affecting the child, who the child will live with, where the child will spend his/her weekends, holidays, summers, etc, and other legal and physical custody issues.
There are a number of factors that the family court will evaluate to determine custody for fathers and mothers. The family court will often hear the testimony of children at any age, though special discretion is applied when younger children are involved. In addition to the wishes of the child the court will often entertain testimony from a psychologist who has evaluated the child custody case. This expert will base the recommendation on any or all of the following: history of abuse or neglect, past parenting history, household stability, time available to dedicate to raising a child, personal behaviors, and other relevant factors.
Custody for fathers can be an uphill battle when the family court system automatically favors maternal custody rights. To locate a divorce lawyer in your metro area click into your state below.
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