If you and your spouse or partner separate, you might be concerned about your relationship with your children. It could seem like the partner with the most financial power is more likely to win in court.
Kansas courts treat both genders equally, and fathers have the same rights to custody as mothers. However, if you have been the children’s primary caretaker, it benefits the children to keep that relationship intact.
If you anticipate a custody battle, you need a seasoned family attorney fighting for you. A Junction City mother’s rights lawyer could ensure that the court learns about and duly considers your contributions to your household and your children.
Child Custody Issues
Kansas law allows several forms of child custody. Many think custody refers to just the physical presence of the children, but it also encompasses the right to make decisions about significant issues like health care, religion, and education. People often refer to physical or residential custody as where the child lives and legal custody as who makes decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.
Courts prefer parents come to a custody agreement between themselves whenever possible. Courts favor joint legal custody even when one parent has residential custody, though a parent may receive sole legal custody in some circumstances. A knowledgeable Junction City mother’s rights attorney could explain the various forms of custody and assist a mother in negotiating a custody arrangement.
If a mother is unmarried when she gives birth, she is the child’s sole legal parent and the only person with a right to custody. The father can claim parental and custody rights if he and the child’s mother signed an Acknowledgment of Paternity when the baby was born or a Paternity Consent Form for Birth Registration. If a court makes a determination of paternity, the court order also bestows parental rights on the father.
Ensuring Appropriate Child Support Arrangements
Whether parents were married or not, both parents have the legal obligation to support their children financially. Kansas uses a formula that considers the:
- Number of minor children the couple has
- Ages of each of the children
- Income of each parent
- Time the children spend with each parent
- Work or school-related childcare expenses
- Children’s health insurance costs
The formula also factors in any spousal maintenance or support for other children the parent pays or receives.
Ensuring the child support calculation is correct can be challenging if one parent is self-employed or owns a business. They could understate their gross income to avoid paying appropriate support. If necessary, a proactive mother’s rights lawyer in Junction City could engage forensic accountants and other professionals to verify a parent is disclosing all their income.
Parents sometimes weaponize child support. For example, a father unhappy with a visitation schedule might withhold payments. Tying support to visitation is improper and violates the children’s rights to a meaningful relationship with each parent, including financial support.
Fundamental Consideration Is the Children’s Best Interests
When courts must make decisions that directly impact children, they must select the option that supports the children’s best interests. Courts make a distinction between the parents’ best interests and the children’s and make the decision they believe benefits a child most.
Kansas Statute §23-3203 describes the elements judges must consider when deciding what is in the children’s interests. Some of the factors the judge will assess include the following:
- Each parent’s involvement with the child
- Each child’s age and physical and emotional needs
- Each child’s attachment to their home, school, and community
- Each child’s relationship with siblings, extended family, and others in each parent’s household
- Each parent’s willingness to nurture and support the other parent’s relationships with the children
Courts will consider the child’s preference if they have the maturity to express a considered opinion.
The law also requires the court to consider whether domestic violence or abuse occurred in the home. If a mother was a victim of domestic violence, a dedicated legal professional could ensure that the court is aware of the issue and that all decisions reflect the need for the mother and children to be safe.
Call a Junction City Mother’s Rights Attorney to Protect Your Relationship with Your Children
Nothing is as valuable as your relationship with your children. Divorce or separation might seem to threaten that relationship.
A Junction City mother’s rights lawyer could ensure that the court respects your contributions as a mother and determines custody accordingly. Reach out today to discuss your situation with a compassionate attorney.