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FATHERS’ RIGHTS
NOT JUST EVERY OTHER WEEKEND

This is about fathers' rights law, and protecting the best interests of your children. It provides information, news and comments on laws, cases and strategies for life as a single father and winning your custody, access or child support case.

Archive for October, 2009

Flu Shots and Joint Custody

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Parents are rightly concerned about vaccinations for their children to prevent the swine flu (H1N1) or the seasonal flu.  These are medical decisions.  If you have joint legal custody with a co-parent, then vaccination ought to be agreed upon by both parents.

“Legal custody” carries with it the right and obligation to make long range decisions involving education, religious training, discipline, medical care, and other matters of major significance concerning the child’s life and welfare. “Joint legal custody” means that both parents have an equal voice in making those decisions, and neither parent’s rights are superior to the other. In any child custody case, the paramount concern is the best interest of the child.  Taylor v. Taylor, 306 Md. 290, 508 A.2d 964. (1986).

If you disagree, you may want to speak together with your pediatrician or a mediator, and try to come to an agreement together.  Thanks to Kysa Crusco for bring this up on her blog.  Here is the latest flu news in Maryland.

Trick or Treat

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Halloween is the most important holiday of the year for many children according to Donna at SingleParentGossip.Com.

But children of divorced parents have many questions, like which parent will take me trick or treating?

The easiest answer is to look at the Parenting Agreement, but sometimes Halloween is overlooked as a holiday in the vacation schedule.  Then the children are with the parent who has them in the regular weekly schedule.  That means one parent may be left out when it is time to trick or treat.

You may be close enough so that the children can trick or treat with each parent.  Or you may be able to reach an agreement to alternate Halloweens.   Some parents can work together so that one stays at home and hands out the candy and the other goes with the children.  Then they alternate the next year.

Children want to know where they will be going to trick or treat.  The children may be comfortable and used to one neighborhood. They may traditionally trick or treat with their friends in that neighborhood.  So it may take them some time to get to know the kids in the other parent’s neighborhood.

Who picks the costumes?  If there is a dispute, let the parent who picked the costumes in the past continue to do so.

Take enough pictures of the children in costumes so that each parent can have some.  If possible, have a picture of the children with each parent.

Most of all remember that Halloween is the children’s holiday, not the parent’s.

Dealing with Parental Alienation

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Does your ex alienate the children from you when they are with her?  Here’s an example of a provision that should be in your Parenting Plan to prevent that.

“Each parent (and any subsequent spouse) will refrain from exercising undue influence over the child with regard to the other parent, criticizing the other parent in the presence of the child, inducing the child to challenge the authority of the other parent, or encouraging the child to request a change of custody or to resist visitation. Neither parent will interrogate the child about the other parent.”

Ten Commandments of Divorce for Men

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

You’ve got to love those folks at Hemancipation.com who posted the Ten Commandments of Divorce for Men. A few of  my favorites:

Commandment No. 2: Honer you sons and daughters (fatherhood is a blessing).

Commandment No. 6:  Thou shall not spend the next six months trying to get your wife to change her mind.

Commandment No. 10:  Thou shall not marry without a prenup.

Click to read all ten commandments.

When Parents Clash

Monday, October 19th, 2009

People have different approaches to parenting.

Mom may feel that Dad is too strict with the children.  Dad feels that Mom is too lenient with the children and that the children need to learn independence.

Dad may feel that Mom is lax about the children’s weight or medical problems.  Mom sees Dad as overprotective and perhaps even a hypochondriac.

Dad may let the children stay up later or watch television shows they can’t watch at Mom’s house.  Mom doesn’t think Dad is a serious enough about making the children do their homework.

Parenting is hard work, but it can be even tougher if one parent is sabotaging or undermining the other’s authority.  Good parents are like good business partners.  They may not love each other or hate each other, but they present a united front in handling the business of parenting together.

But real life is seldom so ideal, so Robert L. Mues, gives us some help for handling parenting style conflicts on his Ohio Family Law Blog.

Dad Waits Too Long to Challenge Paternity

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Vickie Duckworth and Darren Kamp got married in 1983, and had three children together.  Then Darren decided to have a vasectomy in 1987.  Vickie became pregnant again in 1992.  Although Darren knew about her affair, he decided to treat the child as his own.

The couple stayed together until 1998 and filed for divorce in 1999.  In their separation agreement and divorce, Darren stated that he was the father of all four children.

In 2005, Vickie filed a motion to modify child support because Darren was making more money.  Darren had had enough.  In his response he said that he was not the biological father of the fourth child, and asked for a DNA test.  The court granted his request, and the DNA test came back negative,  Since Darren was not the biological father, the Court said he was not required to pay child support.

The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed, and sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings, saying the judge must first consider whether or not a DNA test was in the best interests of the child.  And those considerations should take into account the length of time that Darren had maintained a father-child relationship.

Kamp v. Dep’t of Human Services, Maryland Court of Appeals, September 21, 2009

Related Articles:

Non-Biological Dad Still Has to Pay Child Support

Update on Paternity and DNA

Access to Children’s School and Medical Records

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Maryland attorney, Heather L. Sunderman, has a helpful post at her blog, Maryland Family Law, noting that even non-custodial parents are entitled to see their children’s medical and school records.

Maryland law states:

Unless otherwise ordered by a court, access to medical, dental and educational records concerning the child may not be denied to a parent because the parent does not have physical custody of the child.  Section 9-104 of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code.

Read Dave’s post about why he missed his son’s award at school.  Whether your state has a similar law or not, access to records is one of the things you will want to include in your checklist for a Parenting Agreement.

Jon Says Take My Kids Off TV

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

TLC said on Tuesday that “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ will be renamed “Kate Plus 8″ due to recent changes in family dynamics.

On Thursday, octodad, Jon Gosselin told Larry King,”The reason I don’t think it’s healthy for them is that we’re going through a divorce right now, and I don’t think it should be televised and I think my kids should be taken off the show.”

“They’re 5 and 8 now; let them experience a normal childhood,” he said.

Gosselin’s lawyer predicts  no judge would ever “subject the children to the show if the father believes it’s detrimental.”

It sounds like a legal maneuver to me.  I think Gosselin and his lawyer will have to explain to a judge why it was ok for the children to be televised for the last four years and now it is not.  And the show is the income source for the family.

 
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