If you are considering divorce, are already separated, or are worried about the care and safety of your children, you may want to take action on child-related legalities that are typically part of the divorce process. Here are things you should know when it comes to seeking child support and custody while you are still legally married.
You need a divorce lawyer
Laws regarding custody and child support vary by state, and the only way to ensure that you follow the right procedures and fill out proper paperwork is to hire a lawyer. In many states, such as Texas, you don't have to actually file for divorce to gain child custody and the accompanying support you will need by filing a 'Suit Affecting a Parent Child Relationship' claim, or something similar. To get granted full custody, your lawyer will want to prove that you are the better parent for your child(ren) because your spouse has left the state, is abusive, or doing illegal activity. In some states, you can only file for temporary custody until you have finalized a separation or divorce.
You will need to decide visitation
Even if you are the primary custodial parent of your children, your spouse will still have legal access to them. You and your spouse, with the help of a divorce or family lawyer, will want to decide when the other party will have access to your shared offspring. If you cannot agree on weekends, dates, and holidays, then your state may intervene and make the decision for you. It's best to use a lawyer to discuss these terms so you can avoid compromising your custody and can know just what your legal rights are.
You will need to establish child support and health insurance
Luckily, most child custody cases also involve child support and potential health insurance needs of the children. If you have special needs for your kids, such as childcare expenses, in addition to needing funds to help pay for food and housing for your family, then you want to discuss this with your lawyer and the other party. If you cannot agree on a set child support rates (which is based upon your and your spouse's income and how much custody each of you has, and the number of children you have), then the state you live in will calculate the amount for you.
You may be worried about your children when you are not sure of your marriage, and getting full custody or filing for child support when your spouse is absent is a great way to ensure their security and safety. A divorce lawyer can help you with these proceedings so you file everything correctly. For more information, contact Bergermann Law Firm or a similar organization.