Pennsylvania readers may be interested to learn that the head of a grandparents' rights association from a southern state has been using his personal experience as motivation to seek changes in child custody proceedings across the country. He raised his two grandchildren, along with his wife, since shortly after the kids were born. However, that all changed in 2010, when his state's Department of Social Services stepped in and removed the children, claiming that the man and his wife were too old and medically unfit to continue to raise them. The experience turned him into a spokesman for grandparents' rights.
Pennsylvania readers may recall that, last December, we wrote about the ongoing divorce battle between former NFL great Deion Sanders and his now former wife, Pilar ("Deion Sanders divorce: Pilar fights for child support, annulment," Dec. 12). The court battle between the two has continued for months and recently resulted in a trial over child custody issues. Both Deion and Pilar sought sole custody of their three children, and the issues were recently tried before a jury of 12 men and women.
Marijuana use is currently a hot topic in the United States. Though Pennsylvania has not yet followed suit, a number of states have approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. One western state recently approved use of the drug for both medicinal and non-medicinal use. That action has prompted some to question how passage of the Amendment will affect child custody litigation within the state.
Pennsylvania parents confronting international child custody issues may be interested in a federal trial just underway in a northeastern state. The child custody dispute got its start in 2006 when a Turkish court granted a divorce to a father and also awarded him custody of the two young children of the marriage. The mother, an American citizen, subsequently took the daughters and left the country, enlisting the help of a mercenary to whom her parents paid $70,000. After several years in hiding, she was granted the opportunity to return to the United States with the children and has since lived here with them.
When it comes to the rights of fathers toward their children, the American court system sadly lags behind the shift that has taken place within our society. Fathers have become far more involved in the lives of their children in recent decades, and many shoulder as much or more of the responsibilities of childrearing than their wives. However, Pennsylvania fathers still face considerable challenges within the legal system in child custody cases. The recent court victory of one father reminds all others of the need to protect one's legal interests in relation to their children.
Modern technology has made its impact on divorce and child custody in Pennsylvania. The seminal movie about child custody from the 1970s, Kramer vs. Kramer, portrayed the struggles of parents in an environment where the mother was typically awarded child custody, and the father was relegated to weekend walks in the park and ice cream cones. Now, courts across the country are more focused on meaningful shared custody. Such an arrangement virtually compels parents to remain in communication, even if they are less than enthusiastic about doing so.
Child support is an understandably important matter in Pennsylvania and across the country. Paid for the benefit of the children involved, child support is typically due from the noncustodial parent and remitted to the custodial parent. The payments can quickly add up to a significant sum, and few would argue that the cost of raising a child in modern society is unsubstantial. One case from another state recently tackled the question of what happens when a child support order is based on the willful deception of one of the parties.
Kelly Rutherford, the actress known for her role on the TV series "Gossip Girl," has been embroiled in child custody litigation with her ex-husband. New details have emerged from the trial which give Pennsylvania readers some indication of the basis for the court's decision. The judge ordered that the father shall be the primary residential parent of the former couple's two children. The child custody determination was unusually significant because the children will now reside with the father in France.
Arrangements of child custody can be a point of contention between a lot of divorcing parents. Having to come around to the idea of sharing a child between two households, or giving up full parenting rights to a child can be a hard one to grasp. These child custody agreements can be even more difficult for parents who don't live in the same place, like Pittsburgh, and even more still for parents who might be living in entirely different countries.
The stress of going through a divorce is well-known, and while much of this dissipates after a settlement is finalized, divorced Pittsburgh residents know the stress can continue long after a split. With spousal support and child support payments, ex-spouses can remain tied to one another long after divorce. When children are involved, too, former spouses might continue to be in each other's lives for the benefit of their children, which can cause problems for parents looking to move on in their lives.