It’s not often you hear the word “custody lawyer” in the same breath with a court hearing.
But that’s what’s happening in New Zealand when a mother and her baby are in court.
Custody attorneys are the people who represent parents in custody cases.
They represent parents who want to go back into custody and protect the safety of their children.
It’s not always easy to make the distinction between what is and is not legal custody, but that’s why the New Zealand Herald’s Amber Thompson has put together this handy guide.
“It’s a very difficult issue, and it’s a complex issue,” she said.
“You can only see custody from the perspective of the mother.
And it’s also a very different thing to a court case, so we’re really not sure if the court is actually listening to what you have to say.”
Thompson said there are three main ways to look at a custody case.
First, the mother is the one who is actually in custody, so the mother and the baby have a common ground of custody.
Second, the father is the person who has custody but is not legally in the child’s care.
Third, the child is in the custody of the parents, and the mother has a legal obligation to provide the child with care.
“So the parent is actually the parent in custody.”
If the mother does not have custody, the court will hear the case from the father’s side.
The father may be the one with the legal right to stay with the child, Thompson said.
And even if the father has custody, it’s not usually clear whether that’s legal or not.
If the father does not own the home, it is the responsibility of the court to determine whether it’s in the parent’s best interest to provide custody.
If the court determines that it’s the best interest of the child to stay in the home for longer than the parent can afford, it may order the father to stay and care for the child.
It all depends on the circumstances of the case, Thompson added.
“There are lots of different things that the court might decide to do, and there’s a lot of cases that might involve custody.
It’s really up to the court and their own discretion.”
Custodial parent is in custody?
How often is this a regular thing?
Most parents will often agree to have their custody split, and this is a common thing to do in custody disputes.
“What we’re seeing in custody decisions is quite often that there’s an agreement to split the parenting responsibilities,” Thompson said, but there are also cases where parents don’t even know they’re on the same side.
“For example, a lot parents don.
They’re not even aware that there is a parent on the other side of the split.”
If a mother wants to go to court to seek legal custody of her child, she will need to make a submission to the Family Law Act.
The child’s father, if the case is over custody, can then apply to the courts to try to get the child back in the care of his parent.
“If the child in custody is a child of a different sex or different race, they’re probably going to be a more difficult case because that’s probably where the parents are going to want to be, so it’s going to require a lot more convincing from both sides,” Thompson explained.
There are different types of parental rights.
The child’s mother may have a right to have the child under her control, which can include being able to provide food, clothing and shelter.
“The parents are basically arguing for the same rights as the child that the child can have.
They are trying to get their child back and they’re not arguing that they’re a legal parent,” Thompson added, “They are arguing that their child is their child.”
If both parents are in favour of separation, then there is no issue of custody, Thompson explained, but if one parent is unable to provide that child with the care he or she needs, then the child will have to remain in the mother’s care until the other parent returns.
If you have any questions about custody in New Zeland, contact a family law specialist at 1-800-438-7111 or go to www.familylaw.govt.nz.