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I live in Arlington VA and am father of my 2 year old son…

I live in Arlington VA...
I live in Arlington VA and am father of my 2 year old son and live together with my spouse; we are not married. I want to understand the implications (my duties and rights) in case we break up
- my parental rights (and what factors these depend on)
- my financial duties (she currently has no income however since we are not married my assumption is that I would only be responsible for child support... is this correct + what factors does the amount depend on / what is the usual amount)
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Answered in 58 minutes by:
3/19/2018
N.Brown ESQ
N.Brown ESQ, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 154
Experience: Attorney
Verified

Hello I would be happy to answer your question. Please allow me a moment to review your question.

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Regarding Parental rights and duties:

Custody has two components decision making authority and parental access or visitation.

Decision Making: The court can order that both parties have Joint Custody where both parties have equal decision making authority and access to information (medical, school, etc..). or the court can order Sole Custody where only one parent has final, sole decision making authority. Where the parents are unmarried, and absent a court order, there is a presumption that each parent will have joint legal custody of the child.

Visitation: Next the court has to determine physical custody (where the child will live and with whom). Usually absent a compelling reason the child will continue to live with the parent that has been providing primary care, but the court will consider the housing situation of both, and any other factors to determine who will have physical custody. The non custodial parent (Parent who child does not primarily live with) is entitled to visitation time.

If the parties have an agreement on these issues then the court will generally accept that agreement and make them the order of the court as long as the court is satisfied that it is in the best interest of the children. If the parties do not agree then the court will have to decide these issues and do so considering what's in the best interest of the children based on several factors including who has been the primary care giver, the parties housing situation, any impending changes that may be happening in the parties lives (change in schedule because of job change for instance), any history of abuse between the parties and or children. The court will gather most of this information at a hearing based on the parties testimony and any other evidence or information they provide.

Child support is a little easier to figure out. The court uses a guideline calculation to determine what the support amount will be. The child support guideline scale takes into consideration the gross income of both parents, the number of other children being supported, the cost of medical/dental insurance and extraordinary medical/dental expenses for dependents, and childcare expenses. Other factors may be considered and are referred to as deviations. The courts use the guideline to establish court orders for support. The child support order is a legal obligation. There is no standard amount as every situation is different. But generally the non custodial parent will be responsible for the majority of the support. Here's a link to where you can find the guidelines calculator: http://www.dss.virginia.gov/family/dcse/faq.cgi

Please let me know if there is anything else you want to discuss. I would be happy to continue this conversation. If so just reply to this response. If you are satisfied with this response, please Accept the answer and provide a rating. Doing so is the only way experts are compensated for the time reviewing and responding to questions as we are not employees of the site. You may also get a request for a telephone call, but that is from the site and not the experts. I hope your legal issue works out to your satisfaction.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
ok thanks. my situation is in fact more complex: I also have a 9 year old son with my ex wife (note: with my current spouse I was never married). with my ex-wife I got married and divorced under French law, before we came to the US. She is now with another partner (they are not married). I pay child support for my 9 year old. Does the amount I should pay in any way depend on the income of her partner (which is very high) ? Not that I would ever want him to pay for my son *however* because he has so much income my ex-wife has much more disposable income (e.g. because she does not have to pay for house etc).Also, considering that we married and divorced under French law, does American law dictate our current situation ? And how is this affected if I would move to Europe (Netherlands, where I am from) ?
In that last case, can my current spouse (if we break up) block my now 2 year old son from visiting me in NL ?

For a foreign order to be recognized in the U.S. it has to be domesticated by a U.S. court. Generally that requires a certified copy of the divorce /custody judgment be presented to the court along with a petition requesting the court accept it, and notice has to be given to the other party. If no objection is filed, and the court accepts the conditions that that foreign judgment was entered under. U.S state have to accept judgments entered in other states by giving them full faith and credit. There is no requirement to give such credit to judgments for other countries, but they generally will if the court is satisfied with the conditions that the judgment was entered under. Once domesticated the court can enforce and modify that judgement in the U.S. applying the law of the state or country where the judgment was entered. So the U. S. court would apply French law if it had to enforce or modify a judgment.

The child support calculation only takes into consideration the parent's income. In very rare instances the court can impute an income to a parent if they are supported by someone else, and have little or no other income. But usually the court only considers the parent's income.

Child support is a legal obligation, moving would not eliminate that obligation. The only way it may affect it is if a parent tries to enforce the child support order where you would be living and whether that country would recognize that order, and enforce it. There are laws (uniform international family support act) that have created agreements between the U.S. and NL among other countries to facilitate enforcing support orders between the U.S. states and the U.S. and certain foreign countries. Moving should not have any affect on the order because generally the child support order is based on the laws of the state or country where they were originally entered.

With respect to visitation, since the visitation orders would be entered here, she would still have to comply with those orders assuming the visitation extends to allow the child to visit you in NL. There may be some restrictions placed on allowing the child to visit you in NL just because of the logistics (is the mother taking the child, are you picking the child up here, taking him to NL and then returning him). But you moving would not extinguish your right to visitation, it would really just affect how the visitation is implemented because of the logistics. I could see a court limiting visitation to the US until the child is a little older, again considering what's in the child's best interest at his /her age and stage of development.

N.Brown ESQ
N.Brown ESQ, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 154
Experience: Attorney
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