If you are a mother and you and your co-parent are divorcing or fighting over the rights and responsibilities that you have to your children, you should seek legal counsel immediately. A Short Hills mothers’ rights lawyer could become an advocate and offer you support in these stressful situations.
Our skilled family attorneys understand the challenges many women face when raising their children alone, and we could offer you legal guidance through these situations. Whether you are concerned about custody, child support, or another issue, we could help you secure your rights as a mother.
State law does not prefer one parent over the other based on gender. Therefore, every child has the right to receive financial support and time with both of their parents. When reviewing issues related to children, the court must make decisions based on “the best interests of the child.”
This means that if the court believes that another person is better suited to take care of a mother’s child, they may revoke her parental rights. If a mother believes her rights are in jeopardy, she should contact a Short Hills attorney immediately.
As both parents have equal rights to custody and support, a woman can assert that it is in “the best interests” of her child to live with her. An attorney could help a mother gather evidence to support her case. For example, a lawyer may look at how much time a father has spent with their children, compared to the mother.
The same standard applies to visitation rights. The parent of “primary residence” is the custodian while the parent of “alternate residence” gets visitation rights. What that schedule looks like includes a myriad of factors, but the focus is always on the children’s best interests.
Sometimes a woman may invoke the “tender years doctrine.” This concept holds that infants and toddlers should be solely in a mother’s custody until they are older. However, this presumption is changing.
Because every child has the right to financial support from both parents, a mother may demand child support from the father of her child. A court may determine the amount a mother should receive based on numerous factors, including the income of both parents. If a mother is having trouble receiving child support payments or the father is avoiding their financial obligation, she should seek the help of a skilled lawyer.
If a mother has never been married to the father of her child, she still retains the same rights regarding custody, visitation, and support. Just like a divorce, all agreements regarding children must be filed with the court to protect those rights. A mother may not want an ex-boyfriend to have visitation, but if he is the father, those rights are his as well.
The only time a court may curtail or forbid custody or visitation is in the case of an “unfit” parent. Unfitness is challenging to prove and often involves evidence of substance abuse, physical violence, incarceration, or mental illness. Some mothers may want to protect their children from their fathers for various reasons. A court can limit access to the father if it is in the best interests of the children.
Finally, an unmarried woman may want to prove paternity if a man does not legally acknowledge their child. Once paternity is established, that child has a right to financial support from the father. A lawyer in Short Hills could help a mother protect her rights regardless of her marital or relationship status to her child’s father.
When parents separate, there is a lot at stake for the children. Your primary focus is likely on the safety and security of your children. Our compassionate Short Hills mother’s rights lawyers are ready to stand by you. Give us a call for the legal support and advice you need in difficult times.