If you and your spouse are involved in a divorce proceeding, and you have children, it is vitally important to understand the child custody laws as they apply to your situation. These laws set forth the rights and obligations of both the custodial and non-custodial parent. Understanding these laws can be difficult, so here are some general considerations that may help you in this process. Understanding what is involved in the custody process will help you to minimize the impact of the situation on your children.

Consult the Court With Jurisdiction in Your Case

The process must start with an understanding of the custody laws that apply to your situation. Custody laws are set by the States, so it is important to know which State’s laws apply in your case, if one spouse has moved to another state. One example of the disparity is seen in the case of a custodial parent who fails to follow the visitation rules set by the court in a custody case. In some States, the non-custodial parent must file a lawsuit against the custodial parent. In other States, the non-custodial parent can ask that a warrant be served against the custodial parent.

The determination of which court has jurisdiction does not necessarily change when the custodial parent takes the children to another State. For example, if a custody ruling was handed down by a court in Florida, and the custodial parent then moves with the children to Arkansas, The Florida court is still the relevant court in the case. This can be changed by a joint request from both parents.

Look for Support From Support Groups

Determining which laws apply in your case is simply the first step in the process. You can find a great deal of help in understanding your case by seeking help from support groups in your area. One example of such a group is the Children’s Rights Council, which is organized in most, if not all, States. If you join CRC, you will be eligible to receive legal assistance from lawyers who work with the organization, and can help you to understand your rights and obligations in the custody system. There are also support groups for single fathers and mothers.

Make Use of Resources Available on the Internet

Resources that are available on the Internet can help you to determine how the custody laws in your jurisdiction have been applied to past cases which are similar in nature to your own. Online research may also provide ideas and suggestions that you may find useful if your spouse is not complying with the conditions of the custody ruling in your case, following its disposition. You will also find a variety of guides and ebooks which are available, and can provide a rich source of information that you can use. It is important, however, to be certain that the author, or authors, of any such guide are truly qualified to provide such advice.

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