Family Law

Child Custody

There are two parts to child custody. One part is “legal custody,” and the other is “physical custody.” Both are very important and also very different in characteristics as they apply to you and your children.

Legal Custody is the right you have as a parent to make or to participate in making significant decisions in your child’s life. Decisions generally characterized as decisions affecting the child’s education, health and welfare, and religious upbringing. Legal custody includes the critical decisions of your child’s life.

When parents get divorced, the court has two options. The court can maintain the presumptive joint legal custody where both parents keep an equal say as to significant decisions in a child’s life. Or the court can award one parent sole legal custody and, in that case, that parent will make those critical life decisions for the child. Joint custody is the favored approach; however, it does require that parents maintain good communication and the ability to work together in the best interest of their child.

Physical custody is that which most people consider when they discuss custody of children. Physical custody is the time that each parent spends actual time with the child. Recently there has been a movement toward the presumption of joint physical custody. Joint physical custody is an arrangement where each parent is awarded approximately equal time with the child. Each jurisdiction has its proclivities; however, most courts agree that an award of joint physical custody must allow for each parent to have a minimum of forty percent of the time with the child. Joint physical custody again requires that both parents can communicate and maintain a healthy working relationship for the sake of the child.

If the parents are unable to work together, then the court will award sole physical custody to one parent. Sole physical custody gives one parent the primary parenting responsibility of the child. The parent not awarded sole physical custody will have a shortened parenting schedule.

If you need more information regarding child custody, call us at 402-509-6100 to schedule an initial consultation. Our mission is to help you and your family. Call us today.

Child Support

Child support is an essential calculation whenever we are concerned with the financial well being of a child that is the subject of divorce.

Child support calculations analyze several factors. Chief among those factors is the type of physical custody shared between the parents, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, and the total income earned by the parents, derived from all sources, available to provide for the child.

Each jurisdiction provides guidelines to help parents and attorneys calculate a reasonable support amount that will be used to pay for necessities that the child incurs.

In addition to the basic child support, parents or the courts can consider additional support that may be used to pay for expenses above and beyond basic needs. Those expenses may include tuition, health, dental and medical needs, extracurricular activities, and the like.

Just having a child support order may not be the end of your efforts to ensure a needed stream of money to aid with the support of your custodial child. Many times child support is not paid or is paid late. A properly drafted and executed child support order will allow you to seek redress with the court and enforce your order. Many remedies may be available to you if you find yourself collecting past due child support.

If you need more information regarding child support, call us at 402-509-6100 to schedule an initial consultation. Our mission is to help you and your family. Call us today.

Alimony

Alimony, or the more common term spousal support, is money that is paid by one spouse for the benefit of the other spouse in a dissolution of marriage. An award of spousal support can be temporary, permanent (rare circumstances), paid monthly or paid in a lump sum payment.

An award of alimony is decided upon by several factors. A few of those factors are the length of the marriage, contributions of a spouse to the other, and economic circumstance of the parties. Spousal support is dependent upon facts of the marriage and awarded on a case by case basis.

Alimony in some situations is modifiable if the conditions warrant and not prohibited by agreement or law.

If you need more information regarding alimony or spousal support, call us at 402-509-6100 to schedule an initial consultation. Our mission is to help you and your family. Call us today.

Modify Your Case

Almost every divorce decree, parenting plan, or support order can be modified. Family law is unique in the sense that it requires families, attorneys, and judges to forecast what will happen in the future. Most cases are backward-looking, i.e., someone commits a crime, and then the courts seek to punish, or someone breaches a contract, and the court must make the aggrieved party whole. All are dealing with things that happened in the past. But family law is unique, and because of that, the law has a procedure for changes. Any modification must be because of a material change in circumstance that was not known or was indeterminable with reasonable efforts at the time of the original decree. That means that modifications are only allowed because things have changed and the changes were not something known at the time of trial or settlement for the original documents.

So if you find yourself subject to a decree, parenting plan, child support order, or alimony order and circumstances unknown at the time the judge signed your original documents a modification may be warranted, and you should call to speak to us. We can help you determine what your options are and what relief you may be able to get if you seek to modify your case.

One of the only issues generally not modifiable in a family law case is a property settlement agreement or an award of property. Remember that modifications require a “material change in circumstances” unknown or unascertainable at the time of trial or settlement. Since most facts are known at the time of division about the property in the case modifications are rare.

If your circumstances have materially changed and you need more information regarding a modification, call us at 402-509-6100 to schedule an initial consultation. Our mission is to help you and your family. Call us today.

Move Your Kids Out Of The State

Life is moving right along. You have started to recover from your breakup, and a great opportunity presents itself. Maybe it’s a great new job or a great new relationship. There is only one problem! Your ex has a say. What? About my new life? Why? You may ask. Well if you have children from that previous relationship and you have a custody order and parenting plan then most likely the court will need to approve your move. And the reason is that you probably have a stipulation in your documents that says you must get approval from the court before permanently removing your children from the jurisdiction.

We call this a removal action, and it is the process that you must go through to get permission to move your kids out of the state. If you decide to go without getting permission that act subjects you to a contempt finding by the court and severe consequences for disobeying or violating a court order.

You might think this is unfair and wonder why the court can or wants to control your life. In reality, this is not about you; it is about your children and what is in their best interests. It is the way the court ensures that the non-moving parent has a say to protect their parent-child bond. And, of course, if the tables turned, you would appreciate the same consideration from the court.

The requirement to seek court permission does not mean you cannot take advantage of your new opportunities. It just requires that you establish for the court that the relocation is in the best interest of the children. And that the benefit to the children from moving out-weighs any negative impact they may have from the move.

Removal actions are usually very complex, and the outcome determines your ability to leave the state or not… at least with your children. Make sure that you hire an attorney that is very capable and understands the removal process and the law regarding removal completely.

If you need more information regarding removing a child from the state, call us at 402-509-6100 to schedule an initial consultation. Our mission is to help you and your family. Call us today.