My wife, who field for the divorce, wants me to sign papers agreeing to pay child support and give up any chance of gaining full or 50/50 custody of our child.
I’ve refused in the past, but now she is withholding our daughter from me claiming she has more rights than I do.
Do I have equal rights as the father of my daughter during the divorce process and how do I go about enforcing those rights so I don’t lose time with my child?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and cannot give you legal advice, I can give some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.
Where I do practice in Pennsylvania, there is no law that guarantees one parent additional rights over the other parent due to his or her gender. Instead, the court must make a custody determination based on the “best interests” of the child.
Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, Section 5328, sets forth several factors the court must consider in doing a “best interests” analysis. While weighted consideration is to be given to the factors that pertain to the safety of the child, some of the elements reviewed by the court include the willingness of the parents to cooperate with one another and which parent is more likely to maintain a healthy relationship with the child for her emotional needs.
Sometimes custody cases can be worked out informally by the parties without intervention of the court. Yet if one parent is unreasonable and believes she is entitled to more than what the law affords to her, the other parent may need to look towards filing for custody with the court in order to protect his rights and so as to attain a custody order for the purpose of protecting such rights.
When seeking a custody order from the court, it may be emphasized that a work schedule should not be used to adversely affect one parent’s custodial rights, so long as proper arrangements have been put in place for the child’s care during the working period. See Murphy v. Hatala, 504 A.2d 917 (Pa.Super. 1986).
Yet having arrangements in place for child care when a parent is working is not dispositive in a custody case, as the court has to consider all of the aforementioned custody factors in coming to a final determination.
Due to the extremely sensitive and fact-specific nature of this situation, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters in your jurisdiction, such as Cordell & Cordell, to see how your state’s laws can help you with this serious situation. This type of attorney should be helpful in providing you specific assistance for your matter.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws in Minnesota and how they impact your potential case.