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Parenting & Child Justice Forms

Personal Planning Package for the Guardian of a Minor

Legal Documents for the Guardian of a Minor Package contains popularly used forms that are essential in effectively managing the responsibilities that arise after establishing a minor's guardianship.

 

How the Law Deals With Children & Parenting Issues

Children must rely on parents to protect their interests, and navigating the legal system to protect their rights can be complicated. US Legal Forms has affordable, professionally drafted forms to make it easier to deal with parenting issues, including forms for a parenting plan, child custody, child support, visitation, paternity, name change, garnishment, and more. We also offer forms for dealing with juvenile court and child protection matters, such as juvenile delinquency, domestic violence, foster care, termination of parental rights, relinquishment of parental rights, adoption, and guardianship. An overview of popular legal topics for parents is provided below:

Child custody and child support - A parenting plan can be agreed upon by the parents that may be incorporated into a final divorce decree. Developing a parenting plan that covers child support, child custody and visitation makes it clear what to expect and minimize conflicts, even if the couple is separated and haven't decided whether to file for divorce. A parenting plan created as part of a legal separation agreement can often later be made part of a divorce decree.

When child custody, visitation, and child support are formalized in a court order, they can be enforced through the court by filing a motion for contempt if not obeyed. Before child support enforcement services can seek income withholding or garnishment from a parent owing overdue child support, a motion for contempt or show cause order must typically be filed. If there has been a significant change of circumstances, it's also possible to seek modification of child support or child custody.

Federal laws - The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction And Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and Uniform Interstate Family Support ACT (UIFSA) allow a child support or child custody order made in one jurisdiction to be enforced in another when one parent moves out of state. The UCCJEA deals with child custody and visitation, while the UIFSA deals with overdue child support.

Domestic violence - It's possible to request a protective order or restraining order when there is a need for child protection due to domestic violence or child abuse.

Child placement - When parents are unable to care for children, there are options for temporary or permanent custody changes. Guardianship and foster care can be temporary or permanent and doesn't sever parental rights. Adoption is permanent and involves severing parental rights.

Termination of parental rights is the term used for involuntarily giving up parental rights, whereas relinquishment is used to describe voluntarily giving up parental rights. A petition to relinquish parental rights won't be granted if the sole motive is to avoid paying child support. Termination of parental rights is ordered in serious cases where the parent has an inability to care for the child, such as incarceration, drug abuse, domestic violence, and other reasons.

Emancipation - Children automatically become emancipated upon reaching the age of majority, getting married, or entering the military. Upon emancipation, the parental liability for child custody and child support terminates. However, it is possible to petition a court for emancipation when the child lives independently and is self-supporting before reaching the age of majority.

Paternity - When there's a question about who the father is, a paternity test may be ordered by the court. The alleged father can be ordered to submit to DNA testing. When the child is born during a marriage, the husband will automatically be a presumed father under the law, unless rebutted through a paternity lawsuit.

Surrogacy - A surrogate may be used to give birth to a child who will be adopted by someone other than the gestational mother. Surrogates involve a developing area of law and it's important to have surrogates sign the proper written surrogacy agreement and adoption papers for relinquishment of parental rights.

Name change - Minor name change may be petitioned for in court. Name change is commonly requested after a divorce or adoption by a stepparent. As long as the court finds the name change in the child's best interests, it will typically be allowed.


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