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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 March, 2011

Maryland Bill Would Add College Costs to Child Support

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Last year Maryland raised its child support guidelines.  Just before that, it extended the age that child support terminates from 18 to the earlier of 19 or graduation from high school if a child is living at home and enrolled full time in high school.

This year, Maryland delegates have introduced House Bill 1272 that would extend child support if the child is enrolled in an institution of postsecondary education (college or vocational school) until the earlier of graduation or age 21.

If enacted, this would allow college tuition and room and board to be added to costs in above guidelines cases just in time for tuition bills this fall.

Shared Parenting Impacts Tiger’s Game

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Following his divorce from his ex-wife Elin, Tiger Woods has failed to win a golf tournament in the last sixteen months.

But Woods isn’t playing golf all that much.  He’s only competed in ten tournaments this year, which isn’t a lot for a professional golfer with the Masters coming up.

There was speculation that he would play in the Honda Classic.  But that was a conflict with his shared parenting time with his three year old daughter and one year old son.

When USAToday asked him why he wasn’t playing more, Woods responded, “Because I have a family. I’m divorced.  If you’ve been divorced with kids, then you would understand.”

My Advice to Charlie Sheen

Friday, March 4th, 2011

I am thinking about Charlie Sheen’s custody case. If I were his lawyer, I think I would start by giving him the book “Ethics” by Aristotle (384 to 322 BC).

Aristotle catalogues and describes various virtues and vices, such as boasting or humility, and argues that the best way to behave is by finding the mean between the two.

It does not seem too different from the reasonable man test I learned in law school a couple of thousand plus years later.

I am all for “Do not be ordinary” as Robin Williams said in Dead Poet’s Society. And while I do not want my tombstone to say “Here lies a reasonable man”, I would advise Charlie Sheen that judges are more influenced by Aristotle and tend to favor the parent that seems to be the most reasonable.

Maryland Considers Joint Custody Presumption

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

House Bill 1132, if passed, would establish a presumption in favor of joint custody for children in Maryland.   The Judiciary Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates is considering the bill, which would add the following as Section 9-109 to the Maryland Family Law Article:

IN AN INITIAL CHILD CUSTODY PROCEEDING, WHETHER PENDENTE LITE OR PERMANENT, INVOLVING THE PARENTS OF A CHILD, THERE IS A REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION THAT:

(1) JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD; AND

(2) PHYSICAL CUSTODY TO EACH PARENT FOR APPROXIMATELY EQUAL PERIODS OF TIME IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD.

Similar bills have failed before, but they are always hotly debated with strong advocates on either side.  I’m not sure it really makes that much difference in the end in litigation.  With or without the presumption, the judge still decides whether custody should be joint or sole with one parent or the other, based on what the judge thinks is in the best interest of the child.  In settlement negotiations, however, it might replace “every other weekend” as a starting position.

 
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