Nothing is more important than your kids, so if you’re facing a child custody situation, you probably have lots of questions. Here are some recent questions that our guest attorneys have answered on our weekly Facebook “Ask a Lawyer” session.
If you have any legal questions of your own about child custody or something else, stop by the Rocket Lawyer Facebook page every Wednesday from 10:30-12:00pm (PST).
Can a father give up his rights without the mother agreeing in Texas? -Pamela
Hi Pamela. The court decides whether the father can give give up his rights. In making this decision, they’ll want to look out for what’s in the best interest of the child, and usually having two parents is best for the child. So in general, the court won’t approve it unless there’s a good reason for it–like when there’s a new step-parent who wants to legally adopt the child. Also, keep in mind that giving up rights doesn’t necessarily mean the father will be relieved from other obligations–like child support, for example. If the father is saying that he’s giving up rights, and nothing has gone through the court, you should talk a lawyer.
I have custody of my grand-daughters from my son , their mother thinks she can get them when ever she wants, my son had sole custody until he left them with me. The daddy & mother were never married, can she do this? -Margaret
First things, first, it may be worth trying to open the lines of communication with the mother. See if you can sit down and talk about a solution that works for everyone.
If you can’t agree, how to approach your situation will depend on several factors, most importantly whether you have a court order or custody agreement that makes it clear you have legal custody of your grandkids.
If you do, then you should have the ability to enforce your agreement. It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your options.
If you don’t have an order or an agreement in place, you may want to get additional help figuring out a custody schedule. You could use a mediator to work out a mutually agreeable arrangement, then petition the court for a visitation order that reflects your agreement. And if you can’t decide on a schedule, the court can do it for you.
Either way, you’ll probably want to speak to a mediator and/or an attorney to help you work out an arrangement and to make it official with the court.
Here are some resources about visitation in Alabama.
And we can help you find a lawyer here.
Hi. I would like to know if you could tell me where to start to try and get rights to my grandkids in Florida. -Tamathy
Hi Tamathy. Thanks for your question. Are you seeking custody or visitation rights? Grandparents in Florida do have rights but under limited circumstances. The best place to start is with advice from a Florida family law or guardianship attorney. To properly analyze your situation, the attorney will need to know details of the children’s current circumstances, including whether the kids are living with a parent and whether the Florida Department of Children and Families has been involved in the situation.
You can also take a look at a Florida statute called “Grandparents Visitation Rights” which addresses when grandparents are entitled to reasonable visitation. This statute gives grandparents the right to file a petition with the court seeking visitation and includes factors the court will consider in ruling on that petition. It’s important to know that the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that some of the provisions of this statute are unconstitutional because the statute allows the state to interfere with parents’ right of privacy (i.e., to raise their children without government intervention).
Again, since this is a complicated area of law with a great deal of controversy surrounding it, it’s best to consult with a Florida attorney.