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How does annulment affect custody and child support?27 Dec 2016

If a couple gets an annulment, would it have an impact on an individual’s child custody rights? The answer to that question is typically no because the child custody is generally not determined by the relationship status of the child’s parents. Instead, it is determined by what is in the best interest of the child.

The First Step Is to Determine Paternity

By default, the mother of the child is known before that child is born. Determining the father of the child may be a more complicated process. However, if the mother acknowledges a man to be her son or daughter’s legal father, he generally has the right to visit or interact with that son or daughter. Paternity may also be established because a man has acknowledged that he is the legal father or because a DNA test has determined this to be true.

A Judge May Grant a Parent Rights to His or Her Child

Once paternity has been established, a judge may declare that both parents will share custody of the child. This may occur even if they don’t live together or otherwise have a romantic or legal relationship with each other. Research has shown that a child does better when he or she has both parents in his or her life. If the parents cannot come up with a parenting plan together, the court may create one for them and enter it into the public record.

How Does Child Custody Impact a Parent’s Ability to Move?

When a romantic relationship ends, one or both parties may want to move away from each other. This may occur because one or both parties choose to live closer to friends or family members. They may also move to pursue job opportunities or to create a fresh start for themselves.

In the event that a parent moves farther from his or her child, it may be necessary to revise a parenting plan. The parent who moves away may be required to give up visitation rights in favor of phone calls or other forms of visitation as traveling long distances may be too traumatic for the child.

What If a Parent Is Abusive or Manipulative?

It is possible that past incidents of domestic violence against the other parent or the child could impact an individual’s ability to be a parent. However, if he or she is working toward overcoming those issues or has not been abusive toward the child, that person may be allowed to visit or interact with the child in a supervised manner.

An Annulment May Impact Grandparent Visitation Rights

In many states, a grandparent is not granted visitation or custody rights to a child if both of his or her parents are married. However, if an annulment is granted, it means that this is not the case. Therefore, a grandparent may be allowed to pursue legal visitation or custody of that child. That grandparent may be granted visitation or custody if it is deemed to be in the child’s best interest.

If a couple chooses to get an annulment, it may not have any impact on who gets custody of the child. A judge will have to look at the facts of the case to determine what would be the best outcome for the child regardless of what the parents may want. Therefore, it may be a good idea to talk to an attorney prior to getting the annulment to find out what role it may play in your case.

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