Without a court order in place, who has custody? If there’s no court order in place regarding child custody, then the parent who has had the child for the last six months is legally deemed the custodial parent. So, in the event of a long-term separation, if the children have been living with one parent, the status quo remains and he or she is the “custodial” parent.
Two married parents without a court order share full custodial rights and can do anything they want in terms of raising their child. It is only once a petition for dissolution is filed that the local family court located just south of the US 60 off Mesa Drive has jurisdiction to interfere. For instance, if a married father leaves the state with his children and moves to New Mexico, the mother cannot ask the court for an order bringing them back unless she files for divorce.
In the case of unmarried parents who have babies, the mother is deemed the custodial parent immediately for the purposes of the criminal charges of custodial interference. A member of our team could step in and help two parties negotiate a great outcome on the issue of custody without a court order in Mesa.
Are Responsibilities Usually Split 50/50?
Daily responsibilities are more connected to parenting time than they are joint legal decision making. In Mesa, the courts use the term legal decision making and parenting time instead of legal and physical custody.
With parenting time comes with the responsibilities of making the day-to-day decisions about the kids, including feeding them, clothing them, getting them to school, doing homework. Even if one parent has sole legal decision making rights, each parent is responsible for making day-to-day decisions during their scheduled parenting time.
Are Custody Orders Mandatory in Mesa?
Custody orders are not required in Mesa. Many parents operate without any sort of custody order. As long as there’s no dispute, there’s no problem with that. One of our team members could help parents in Mesa reach a favorable custody arrangement that adheres to their child’s best interests without the use of a court order.
Significance of Legal Status
Child custody without a court order in Mesa is determined by the legal status of the parties. Married parents have equal parenting rights. If they’re not married, either the mother has superior rights immediately after birth, or whomever has had the child in their custody for the last six months is considered the custodial parent. If you have questions about how your legal status could impact your parental rights, you should consider reaching out to one of our family law attorneys.
Impact on Child Support Obligations
Usually, if there’s no court order for child custody, neither parent is required to pay child support. However, a non-custodial parent could be on the hook for up to three years of retroactive child support if they were separated and not living with the child. In that case, the other parent my file for child support at any time.
Benefits of Having a Court Order
The benefit of having a custody order is that ever party knows where they stand in terms of their rights and responsibilities as parents. It sets the ground rules, and no one is left guessing, which can help minimize disputes between parents. Let Modern Law help you with your custody planning by contacting us today for a consultation.