Child Divorce Laws

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Certain laws pertaining to child divorce about the following topics are mentioned below.

  • Impact of religion(s) of parents on child custody
  • The tax consequences of child support
  • Visitation rights of grandparents

Child Divorce Laws related to Custody

Let us think about a separated couple wherein the 2 members follow varying faiths. Often, the father and the mother do not accede with each other regarding the religion which the child should observe. Due to a rise in the interfaith marriages, the number of arguments regarding this topic has increased in the courts.

There is no uniform national law regarding this topic, but each state has formed its own law. A majority of state courts adhere to the following 3 standards to decide a dispute pertaining to religion.

Substantial or Actual harm

If the religious practice of any parent results in considerable or actual harm to the child, the court restricts the parenting rights or First Amendment of such a parent.

Risk of harm

If there is certain possibility that the religious practice of any parent would harm the child in the future, still the court can restrict the parenting rights or First Amendment of such a parent.

No element of harm

It is the custodial parent's exclusive right to impact the religious upbringing of the child. The court adheres to the desires of the custodial parent in case this parent has any objection about the religious activities of the non custodial parent.

Child Divorce Laws related to Support

For federal income tax purposes, child support is regarded as a tax free amount. The recipient parent does not owe any tax regarding the received amount. So, does the child. The parent who makes the child support payments cannot mention those as tax deductible payments.

In this manner, child support is very different from spousal support. Spousal support is tax deductible for the spouse who pays and taxable for the spouse who receives it. .

When a parent disburses minimum 50 percent of the child support in a tax year, such a parent can claim the child as a dependent. If each parent pays exactly 50 percent of the support amount, the proceedings become very complex. It is essential to read IRS Publication 504 to learn how to deal with this situation.

Child Divorce Law related to Visitation Rights

It has been observed that some caretakers, step-parents and grandparents develop considerable attachment with the children. So, if the family is torn apart due to estrangement, divorce or death there must be some law to ascertain contact of the child with such people.

About twenty states practice 'restrictive visitation statutes.' As per these, if one or both parents have died or are divorcing, then usually only the grandparents can be awarded a court order for visitation.

A majority of states have adopted the 'permissive visitation laws.' As per these, in the absence of divorce or demise of a parent, the courts can consider the visitation request of the above mentioned persons. The only condition is that such a visitation must serve the best interests of the child.

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