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Presentation on theme: "FAMILY LAW."— Presentation transcript:


2 CURRENT AFFAIRS Benjamin Button: Nebraska Safe Haven Rule; The safe haven law was meant to protect infants, but there is no age limit under the current law. There are 6,600 children in state custody, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Per capita, the figure is one of the highest rates in the country All 50 states have "safe haven" laws, but the others apply only to infants less than 1 year old.


4 Couples should be required to live together for six months before getting married.

5 Women who take illegal drugs during pregnancy should be prosecuted for child abuse.

6 If two people of the same sex want to get married and raise a child, they should be allowed to do so. Some argue against this because this will adversely affect a child’s ability to have a traditional life (Affected by cople’s nontraditional life). Some others argue it’s about being loving and supportive for the child. California and Pennsylvania allow second-parent adoptions by gay and lesbian parents were legal. Nebraska- child cannot be adopted by a mother’s lesbian partner. 21 states allow same sex adoption. Oregon allows single sex adoption. Second-parent adoption is allowed in some areas.

7 Children should be required to support elderly parents who are in nursing homes and receiving government aid, such as Medicaid.

8 If a woman wishes to have an abortion, she should be able to do so without the consent of the father.

9 A husband who physically abuses his wife should be prosecuted for criminal assault, even if the wife is unwilling to testify against him.

10 Parents who do not pay child support should have their names and photographs included on a web site list of those “most wanted” for late child support payments.

11 High school students should be able to obtain contraceptives at school without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

12 FAMILY LAW: Parent-Child Relationship

13 OVERVIEW Parent and child relationship
Responsibilities between parents and child Child abuse and neglect Foster care Adoption Child custody Stepparents

States are generally in favor of supporting/doing what is in the best interest of the child. Issues in parent-child relations: Paternity Support Family responsibility Education Care and supervision Care and supervision: children can legally stay home alone at the age of 10. but at the same time

15 Paternity Paternity tests: QUESTION:
Family Support Act of 1988 requires all states to assist mothers and children in obtaining paternity. State lawyers must assist in finding missing parents and to help mothers and fathers prove paternity Blood samples DNA QUESTION: If Martha, 15, becomes pregnant; she claims that Michael, 17 is the father, but Michael denies it and refuses to marry her or support the child. Does the law require Michael to marry Martha? Does the law require unmarried teenagers to provide support for their child? If Michael is not the father, no legal obligation to Martha or her child If Michael is the father, the state will not force him to marry her, but he can be legally compelled to support his child as prescribed by state law; it is irrelevant that Michael and Martha are minors.

16 Support A parent’s most basic responsibility is to provide – food, clothing, shelter, education, and medical care. All parents are expected to support their minor children. The law makes parents responsible for child support. pay by ability

17 Family responsibility
ORS : : “Parents are bound to maintain their children who are poor and unable to work themselves; and children are bound to maintain their parents in like circumstances.” QUESTION: Rose has a successful business; her mother will retire at the end of the year. Her mother’s meager savings and Social Security is not enough to pay for rent. Does Rose have a legal obligation to support her mother. Should the law require adult children to support their parents when they are in need? Do they have a moral obligation to support their needy parents? Family responsibility Family responsibility law: some states have a law that require adult children to care for elderly parents. Other States with Filial laws: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

18 Education All children have a right to free public education through 12th grade. Each state has different standards for public school. School attendance is generally required for children ages 7-16, although state laws vary. A child who misses school without justification is considered a truant. States generally hold parents responsible for their children’s welfare and education, parents who fail to send their children to school may be fined or arrested.

19 Care and supervision Parents may decide what is best for their children as long as they do not abuse or neglect their children. No minimum requirement for number of hours parents must spend with their children. Children may be left alone at home at the age of 10 however Under ORS : Child neglect in the second degree. (1) A person having custody or control of a child under 10 years of age commits the crime of child neglect in the second degree if, with criminal negligence, the person leaves the child unattended in or at any place for such period of time as may be likely to endanger the health or welfare of such child.

Almost all states hold parents civilly liable for certain acts of their minor children such as property damage, theft or vandalism. Sometimes called...Contributing to the delinquency of a minor Oregon Laws holding parents responsible: ORS : Liability of parents for tort by child: Parents of a minor child will be held liable for actual damages to person or property caused either intentionally or recklessly by that child. A parent may be liable for up to $7,500 in damages. ORS : Failing to supervise a child: A parent, guardian or other person lawfully charged with the care or custody of a child under fifteen years of age could be charged with failing to supervise a child if the child commits an act that is referred to juvenile court. RESPONSIBILI-TIES BETWEEN PARENT AND CHILD “Parents who fail to exercise proper supervision and control over their children may be held legally responsible for their children’s acts. “ e.g. a parent who allows an underage child to drink and drive may be held liable if the child has an accident.

Child abuse: occurs whenever an adult or older child inflicts or threatens to inflict intentional physical, emotional or sexual harm on a child Child neglect occurs more often: involves failure to properly feed, clothe, shelter, educate, supervise, or tend to the medical needs of a child. Abuse and neglect are among the leading causes of death of children in the US Some states have laws that require doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers and others to report suspected case of abuse or neglect. 85% of all juveniles who break the law have themselves been victims of abuse. Oregon has mandatory reporting law. Accusing someone of child abuse without having any reason to suspect the person abuse might be basis for civil lawsuit; not held legally responsible/liable for mistaken report in good faith.

22 Sexual abuse Examples of sexual abuse: sexual fondling, using a child in pornography, and making a child view pornography QUESTIONS: (are the following situations child abuse or neglect) Theresa, 16, returns home late one evening. As punishment her parents ground her for a week. Shauna, 18, and her son Jeffrey, 2, live with her mother. Shauna has to be at work at 9p but her mother does not get home until 10p. Shauna feeds Jeffrey and puts him to bed. He sleeps alone for one our before Shauna’s mother returns home from work. Parents make Erin (15) wear a sign for several days saying he is a liar. A parent spanks Albert (4) for taking cookies out of the cupboard. The boy cries. A father tells Whitney (14), his daughter, she can do anything she wants to do, including staying out as long as she wants so long as she doesn’t bother him. Theresa: not child abuse. This is usually considered reasonable discipline Shauna: she may argue she is doing the best she can. The state will probably find neglect no matter what. Even if the child is asleep, it is too young to leave a child at home no matter how brief the amount of time. Erin: An argument can be made that holding a child out for public ridicule on a continuing basis is emotional abuse because the result may be destruction of a child’s self esteem. Children who attempt suicide often relate stories similar to this. Parents in the case upon which this scenario is based were prosecuted for child abuse. Albert: Unless the child is injured by the spanking, courts would not consider spanking child abuse because a parent has the right to discipline his/her child (Within reasonable boundaries). The fact that the child cries does not necessarily indicate the use of excessive force. Sweden has a law making it a crime to spank one’s child. What policy reasons would be behind this? Child development Child psychology there are no criminal sanctions or legal penalties against parents and guardians who spank in Sweden. Instead, infractions are heard in civil rather than in criminal courts, and adults who violate the law are referred to counselors and other programs for support, advice, and training The primary purpose of the law was to establish a norm against all forms of physical punishment, with a secondary purpose to make it easier to convict those who injure children under the Swedish Criminal Code

23 Hypothetical Situation…
Jenna is the mother of Kimberly (6). The police recently searched their apartment for drugs and found it to be a “shooting gallery” for heroine. Numerous syringes and needles were found, and Jenna and others present were arrested. Kimberly sat on the living room couch during the raid. There is no definite evidence that Jenna is using drugs, although she has a history and is current in rehab. She claims that her boyfriend comes to her apt. with his friends and they use drugs without her permission. Jenna has a fulltime job as a secretary and Kimberly is doing well in school. She loves her mother and does not want to be taken from her home.

24 Hypothetical situation continued…
The state law regarding child neglect reads: “Neglect means the negligent treatment or the maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for the child’s welfare under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child’s health or welfare. The term includes both acts and omissions on the part of the responsible person.” Assume that the state brings a negligent petition against Jenna. What are the arguments for/against finding Kimberly to be a neglected child? If you were the judge, would you find neglect in this case? Explain. If Kimberly is found to be neglected, would you terminate parental rights and remove her from the home? What other orders might you issue? Do you think a parent who uses drugs is committing neglect? Does it make a difference if the child is aware of the drug use? What other factors should be considered before neglect is found? Athis case is ased on an actual case in Washington DC. Initial family court, judge ruled that Kimberly should remain with her mother. Kimberly was doing well in school and appeared to be well cared for. There was so much public outrage that a child would be returned to such an environment that police focused their efforts on proving the continued use of the apartment for drug purposes. After the second bust, Kimberly was removed from mother’s care (by different family court judge). The mother entered a drug rehab program and focused her attention on regaining custody of her daughter. The mother died of methadone overdose (usually a controlled substance to help heroine addicts get over their addiction. No one knows whether she stole the meth or was given too high of a dosage. After mother’s death, Kimberly’s father said it was his fault her mother was an addict. Arguments against Jenna: permitted Kimberly to be in a highly dangerous place where drug use was taking place, expose Kimberly to physical and emotional harms. As a mother, Jenna has a responsibility to provide safe and healthy environment for Kimberly. Additionally, Kimberly is liable for any illegal activity in her apartment. Arguments for Jenna: Kimberly is doing well in school and that Jenna is providing for her needs. No evidence that Jenna is current drug user. Jenna loves Kimberly and wants to continue to support and care for her. Statute indicates that both acts and omissions may constitute a neglect. Jenna’s failure to remove Kimberly from this situation could be considered an omission. Judicial standard for removing a child from home is “best interest of the child.” Weigh Kimberly’s interest in remaining with her mother against possible damage to her from the environment. Consider how courts would monitor whether or not mother is complying with any orders it may make. Judge might make regular drug tesing for Jennal and/or require that Jenna’s boyfriend not enter the home that she shares with Kimberly.

25 FOSTER CARE Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 require that the state make “reasonable efforts” to both prevent the removal of children from their homes and if children have been removed, to eventually return them. Goal is to keep children safe and also work towards family reunification. In extreme cases of abuse, neglect or deaths in family, courts may decide that parents are unable to care for their children. The state become the child’s legal temporary guardian—making most decisions about that child’s life while the child’s parents retain limited legal rights. The state must seek to terminate parental rights if a child has been in placement for 15 of the previous 22 months OR if parents have killed or seriously injured another child in the family. The main goal of the Adoption and Safe Families Act is to assure the health and safety of a child.If parents cannot provide safe care for a child, the court and DHS child welfare may become involved .If a child must be removed from home to be safe, the child may be placed with relatives or foster parents. During this time, parents must make changes to meet the needs of the child. Most parents will be given the chance to make changes. Changes may include better parenting skills or alcohol and drug treatment. DHS and others will work with parents to make these changes.The law allows only a limited time to make changes so a child can be safely placed with a parent.

26 FOSTER CARE Judges and social workers decide where and with whom the child will live. Every child must have a hearing within 30 days of being removed from his or her home and then every 6 months after that. Judges are required to make sure they are safe and that they have the best placement available. Family foster care is a system of licensed families in each state who act as temporary parents for children who cannot live with their families.

27 Role of foster care family
Foster parents have temporary physical custody of children and care for them day to day. They do not have legal custody of child Children may also live in: Group homes Kinship care Judges are supposed to regularly review cases and do everything they can to provide children with permanent home. Those who aren’t adopted, become emancipated. As of 2002, nearly 600,000 children were living in out-of –home family care in the US. Approximately 2/3 of children in foster care are children of color. Minority children are disproportionately represented in the foster care system by a margin of 2:1 as compared with the ordinary population.

28 Most agencies are arranged through adoption agencies
Adults usually adopt children; however, most states allow adults to adopt other adults. Most agencies are arranged through adoption agencies Go-between (pregnant women to turn over babies) Adopt children in foreign countries People wishing to adopt apply to an agency and are investigated and evaluated to determine whether they would be suitable parents. ADOPTION The legal process by which an adult or adults become legal parent(s) of another. The laws place few restrictions on who can adopt another. Traditionally, adoption agencies and courts try to make a child’s new family as much like a traditional family as possible. Adoption agencies thus are sometimes reluctant to place children with a single parent or with parents of a different race or religion. Some states also prohibit gay and lesbians from becoming foster or adoptive adoptions. “Black Market Adoption” : due to small number of newborn babies available for adoption in some parts of the ocuntry, more of these have increased. Lawyers arenot allowed to take compensation for placement of these babies.

29 ADOPTION Adoption must be legally approved
Consent required, but in some states, even if birth parents refuse or cannot be found, courts may still grant adoptions that are in the best interest of the child. Children over a certain age—often 12 or 14– must also consent to the adoption. States usually regulate private adoptions with the following: Social evaluation before a child can be placed in any adoptive home Criminal background check to see if there is a history of child abuse Prohibition of advertising for birth mothers by nonlicensed agencies. US supreme court: the parents, even if unmarried, must at least be given notice of the adoption hearing and an opportunity to present their point of view.

30 Does 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 v. State Seven mothers gave up their children for adoption in Oregon between 1960 and In 1998, Oregon voters enacted Measure 58. Under Measure 58, adopted people over the age of 21 may gain access to their original birth certificates and thus may determine the identities of their birth mothers. At the trial level, plaintiffs sought to prevent the disclosure of their children's birth certificates to the children they relinquished for adoption, arguing that Measure 58 violated the contracts clause of the state and federal constitutions and also unconstitutionally violated their rights to privacy under both constitutions. Ultimately, the trial court rejected plaintiffs' arguments and granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. Read Measure 58. “Upon request of a written application to the state registrar, any adopted person 21 years of age or older born in the state of Oregon shall be issued a certified copy of his/her unaltered, original and unamended certificate of birth in the custody of the state registrar, with procedures, filing fees, and waiting periods identical to those imposed upon non-adopted citizens of the State of Oregon pursuant to ORS and Contains no exceptions.”

31 Scarpetta v. The Adoption Agency
Get into groups of 4-5, read the opinion and decide which one you agree with. Problem is based on actual case in the early 1970s. New York court ordered the baby returned to the biological mother citing arguments in Opinion B. After the court’s decision, the DeMartino family took the children and fled to Florida. Florida has laws and courts which are more sympathetic to rights of adoptive parents. Olga went to Florida and sued again for return of her baby. Florida court, appeals, supreme all decided against her citing Opinion A.

32 CHILD CUSTODY Issues: Custody Who will take care of the children?
With whom will the children live? Who will have custody of the children? Custody Temporary Permanent Visitation rights Joint custody Kinship care Once awarded, unless circumstances change significantly, decision is rarely changed. In 2000, more than 25% of minor children in the United States were living with single parents. Noncustodial parent is usually given visitation rights Joint custody- parents have full responsibility for child supervision; joint custody is successfully only if both parents want responsibility– a court cannot impose joint custody upon a parent who doesn’t want it. . Both parents are required to contribute to the support of a child. Kinship care: in 2000, more than 2.4 million grandparents reported they had primary responsibility for meeting their grandchildren’s daily needs. Often when grandparents or relatives raise kids because parents don’t have ability to do so.

33 CHILD CUSTODY Tender years doctrine: traditionally, the law presumed that young children were better off with their mothers. Today, most states have laws that require courts to treat men and women equally in custody disputes. Equality to: Promote non-discrimination Encourage parental interest Punish mothers who do not fit “good mother” stereotype Courts also have best interests of the child standard: Youth’s actions in home, school, and community Emotional and economic stability of parents Which parent has stronger bonds with the child Consider children’s decision (in many states, age 12) Divorce: All states have some force of no-fault divorce. Either they have no fault divorce or allow person filing for divorce to select either fault or no fault. No-fault divorces make it much easier to obtain a divorce in the past. Less stigma Less personal attack

34 Joint custody question
Wilma and Robert are getting divorced. They have a 4 year old child. Both are employed full-time, and they plan to live 10 miles apart after the divorce. What are the (+) and (-) of a joint custody arrangement for Wilma and Robert? What are the (+) and (-) of the custody with visitation awarded to the noncustodial parent? What other info would you want to know before deciding the best custody arrangement? If they choose joint custody, will both Wilma and Robert have to agree to the arrangement? What will happen if they do not agree? The advantages of joint custody include the following (1) give the child an opportunity to develop a strong relationship with both parents. (2) it will allow both parents to share the rewards and responsibilities of child rearing. However, if parents can’t work it out it will add additional stress. The advantages of sole custody include: (1) the child will feel more secure in living in one home, with one parent making major decisions; (2) there will be less tension and fewer arguments between the parents if they don’t have to interact regularly through a joint custody arrangement. The disadvantages of sole custody include (1) non-custodial parent my end up having less of a relationship with the child; (2) child could suffer from emotional stress of missing the noncustodial parent. How strongly each parent desires custody; each parent’s plan for custody care; the time and travel demands of each parent’s employment; the quality of each parent’s relationship with the child; the emotional stability of the child; effects of the custody arrangements. Joint custody requires that both parents cooperate on issues concerning their child (cooperation unlikely). If the parents can’t agree, court will chose. Parents can negotiate custody relationship and present arrangement to court. Courts often do what parents want because parents generally have the best idea of what is best for their child. Court unlikely to rule in favor of joint custody.

35 The Two Fathers… Carole and Gerald were married and lived in CA. While they were married, Carole became romantically involved with a neighbor, Jonas. She remained married to Gerald, and when her daughter Ella was born, Gerald was listed as the baby’s father on the birth certificate. Carole told Jonas, however, that she believed he was the biological father. Carole and Gerald later separated, and Carole and Ella went to live with Jonas, who acted as Ella’s father. Later Carole reconciled with Gerald and she and Ella returned to live with him. A blood test showed that Jonas was Ella’s biological father. He went to court and sued to be declared Ella’s legal father and for visitation rights. Gerald opposed this, claiming he was Ella’s legal father since he was married to her mother and was currently living with her and acting as her father. What are the strongest arguments for Gerald? What are the strongest arguments for Michael? How should this case be decided? Explain. Do you think that a child should be allowed to have more than two legal parents? Explain. Gerald’s name was listed on the birth certificate, he had no reason to believe that there was a possibility of disputed paternity, and he acted accordingly. Gerald could argue that a person who ahs entered into the legal obligation of marriage should be able to rely on the presumption that his or her spouse has been faithful, in the absence of evidence to the contrary. Denying Gerald paternity rights might encourage married men to obtain paternity tests that would seriously undermine the trust that is vital to a marital relationship. Jonas may argue that in the absence of an express waiver (such as one that a sperm donor may sign) or a woman’s decision to abort a pregnancy, he has an interest in his sperm and the life that it creates, particularly in a situation where he acted as a father. Students’ opinions will vary. In the plurality opinion, the US Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision and found that Jonas’ interest as a biological father in this case did not rise to the level of a fundamental liberty interest and was not sufficient to warrant the interruption of the unitary (traditional, nuclear) family. Justice Scalia wrote that there is no such protection for special arrangements like Carole’s and Jonas’ and that, instead, he believed “our traditions been protected the marital family” against claims of Jonas’ assets. [ dissent argued that Jonas ad a “biology plus relationship] interest in Ella. The law should keep pace by protecting children.

36 ALIMONY Alimony: spousal support or maintenance; money paid to help support an ex-wife or ex-husband after a divorce Covers: household and personal expenses, work-related costs, educational expenses and recreation In 1980, Supreme Court ruled that state laws restricting alimony to women were unconstitutional. Alimony based on need (duration is also a factor). Sometimes rehabilitative alimony award for temporary help for one spouse to get a job/develop job skills. Issue with alimony: Duration of payout Since development of no-fault divorce, most divorce disputes center on two issues: children and money. Major financial issues around: alimony, child support and property division. Most women suffer financial hardship as a result of divorce; most men experience financial improvement. Women face hardship because they have been out of workforce for a period of time taking care of the children when they are young and majority of children of divorced parents live primarily with their mothers. ¼ of those mothers receive only partial child support payments from ex-husbands while another ¼ receive nothing at all. Alimony is about rehabilitative and not support.

37 PROPERTY DIVISION Different categories of property and state law indicates how marital property will be treated upon divorce. Community property “equitable and fair” Everything you have before the marriage is yours. Community property says that everything you get during marriage is shared in half; other states say that courts can just divide by what is equitable and fair. Oregon is equitable and fair.

38 School Payment Problem
Roberto and Marta Flores sought a divorce to end their 11-year old marriage. The couple has no children, little property to divide, and CA has a no-fault divorce law. Roberto argues he deserves part of his ex-wife’s income as a physician because he had worked to support the family (and pay some of her tuition) while she went to school to earn her medical degree. Roberto clamed that he was entitled to a share of Marta’s total projected lifetime income as a doctor. He estimated that Marta was likely to earn over $2M in 20 years of medical practice. She countered that while he might be entitled to reimbursement for part of the cost of her education, he is not entitled to share the potential future value of her degree. She argues that there is no way to reasonably predict what she will earn in her career. She may decide to go abroad and donate her services, or HMOs may reduce her income considerably. In either case, her income would be far less than what Roberto predicts. What happened in this case? What is Roberto asking for? What is fair reimbursement the cost of Marta’s education or the value in terms of her potential increased earnings? Explain. This problem is based on an actual case in which the genders were reversed. Plaintiff, Janet Sullivan lost at trial level and appeals. Supreme court reversed decision. Trial court could have decided to compensate Sullivan for half the cost of her husband’s education. California law requires reimbursement of one spouse’s contribution to education that enhanced the other’s earning capacity. Other state courts are split on the issue. A few consider the value of the degree, many award restitution for contributions and a few give nothing. (Oregon: Compensatory Support is support designed to reimburse the spouse who has made significant financial or other contributions throughout the marriage to the education, training, career or earning capacity of the other spouse. Essentially, the party who contributed or sacrificed throughout the marriage, so that the other spouse could make advancements in his or her earning capacity, is reimbursed for those sacrifices, knowing that the divorce will likely prohibit the contributing spouse from enjoying the fruits of his or her contributions. It is significantly more difficult to modify spousal support awards that are awarded as compensatory support awards.) Roberto wants value of medical degree he helped Marta earn. Difficult. Value can be placed on degrees (some say) others say if a spouse agrees to stay home with children or contribute earnings so that the others can pursue a degree- it’s like a gift between husband and wife and should be free of interference. Those who work hard to support spouse are often taken advantage of. They state that the spouse who worked did so based on the belief that increased future earnings were implicitly promised. Middle ground: pay for tuition.

39 CHILD SUPPORT Both parents still have a legal duty to support their children after divorce. Usually only one parent has to make payments– the other parent with physical custody supports the child b providing daily needs. Child support is usually paid out until the child becomes an adult or is emancipated. When one spouse fails to provide the agreed-upon financial support, the other may seek a court order requiring payment. The Family Support Act of 1998 (FSA) was passed by Congress to help enforce support orders . The State’s general interest is to make sure that children receive adequate support, both for child’s sake and to diminish the need for government support.

40 Child support and alimony questions
Should either spouse pay alimony, child support or both? If so, which spouse should pay what? How much should be paid, and for how long? Miguel, successful plumbing contractor, earns $75K per year. His wife, Carmen stays home and takes care of their 4 children. When Miguel and Carmen divorce, the two older children– a junior in high school and freshman in college—wish to stay with Miguel. The younger children prefer to stay with Carmen. Angela, a government social worker, divorces her husband, Leroy an occasionally freelance writer. He has been staying home and taking care of their son (age 2). Angela’s yearly salary is $33K. Leroy has earned $6K in the past 12 months. The child will live with his mother. If Carmen obtains custody of the younger children, she is likely to be awarded substantial child support and possibly rehabilitative alimony. The alimony is likely to be short-term, covering the time it takes for Carmen to receive any needed training to get a job. The amount of child support is determined by state guidelines. She will need a child care and support for larger period than Miguel (his job will probably require him to pay child support)/ Can argue that Angela should pay alimony until Leroy gets a regular job and can contribute to his own support. Angela could argue that her salary is not large enough to support both. She might point out that Leroy chose to be a writer and she should not have to pay for his lack of success. Leroy might also be required to provide a portion of his income for child support.

41 STEPPARENTS States have different laws on stepparents. Oregon law:
Some states require stepparents to support their stepchildren as long as they are living with them. This may continue even after stepchild moves out if the stepparent has acted in loco parentis if the marriage ends in divorce, stepparents usually cannot claim custody for the stepchild though they may be able to seek visitation rights Stepparents cannot be considered full parents unless they adopt their stepchildren. Only possible if child’s noncustodial biological parent consents to the adoption.

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