People often have a lot of misconceptions about the family law process. They have never been through anything like it before so they turn to experienced friends or the internet for answers before going to an attorney. This usually leads to a lot of confusion and questions. Here are three common myths that I get asked all the time by clients and the truth behind them:
- MYTH: The Mother of the children is always given primary physical custody.
- TRUTH: The courts are gender neutral. PA and NJ are both states that adhere to the “best interest of the child” standard where a variety of factors are examined to determine what custody arrangement is best suited for the child or children.
- MYTH: I can sign away my parental rights to avoid paying child support.
- TRUTH: Not so much. A party cannot simply relinquish parental rights in an attempt to avoid paying child support. The courts most often will only accept termination of parental rights when it involves an adoption matter and another party is stepping in to fulfill that parental role. Legally, a parent remains obligated to financially support the child.
- MYTH: The Father of my child doesn’t pay child support so I don’t have to let him see the child.
- TRUTH: While this may sound unfair, you unfortunately cannot deny your child’s other parent time with the child just because he or she does not pay support. While certainly related, whether or not someone pays support is not the determining factor in how often that person can see the child. There are multiple factors that come into play and ultimately it is the court who weighs them to decide what is fair.