Those steps include obtaining a court's finding of Paternity and filing a petition for custody. Until 1970, most states encouraged or allowed this maternal preference, also called the Tender Years Doctrine, and mothers almost always received custody. (caretakers "for the lawsuit") or friends are sometimes appointed to represent the child's interests and to advocate in court on the child's behalf. The adoptive parents then won in the Michigan courts, based on an analysis of the child's best interests.
In some states, this is a bifurcated (i.e., two-step) process; in others, the two steps are combined. Eventually, many state courts found this preference to be unconstitutional, and gender-neutral custody statutes had replaced maternal-preference standards in 45 states by 1990. Custody evaluations may be ordered, in which court-services personnel visit each parent's home and evaluate each parent's plan for caring for the child. 2002) refused to return custody of a mother's children to her, despite the mother's assertions that the father, the custodial parent, had abused the children. Supreme Court ruled in 1984 that removing custody from a white child's mother because of her marriage to a black man would be discriminatory (Palmore v. On appeal, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed, declaring that under federal law, Iowa had jurisdiction in this case, and that unless a child's birth parents are unfit, an unrelated person may not retain custody.
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In California, the Family Code, for example, establishes a presumption that joint custody is in the child's best interest, thus placing joint custody as a preferred option when courts make custody determinations in that state. Where a child's parents were never married, most states provide that the child's biological mother has sole physical custody unless the biological father takes steps to have himself considered for custody. The challenge for courts since the 1990s has been to interpret the standard objectively in the absence of meaningful guidelines. Before the late 1800s, fathers had sole rights to custody, because it was closely tied to inheritance and Property Law. Beginning in the nineteenth century, courts began to award custody of young boys and of girls of all ages solely to mothers on the presumption that mothers are inherently better caretakers of young children. Nevertheless, courts have instituted some mechanisms to determine a child's best interests. De Boer's birth mother later married De Boer's birth father, and they sought and won custody of De Boer in Iowa, based on the father's never having consented to the adoption. A Florida judge ruled in 1993 that 14-year-old Kimberly Mays could choose not to see her birth parents, from whom she had been separated at birth by a hospital error (Twigg v.
An unwed father usually cannot win custody from a mother who is a good parent, but he may have priority over other relatives, foster parents, or strangers who want to adopt his child. The fact that one parent has been the child's primary caretaker is often considered but is not enough to guarantee a custody award. Similarly, the Alabama Supreme Court in Ex parte H. Although the majority in the decision did not address the fact that the mother was a lesbian, a concurrence written by the chief judge of the court suggested that the court should consider homosexuals as presumptively unfit to have custody of minor children.
The government must provide a child's unwed parents with the opportunity to step forward if it is seeking custody. Standards for changing custody awards are similarly vague, although most states' criteria allow courts to modify custody only when the circumstances of the custodial parent or of the children—not of the noncustodial parent—have changed. In contrast to these types of decisions, many courts have been more willing to grant custody to gay and lesbian parents when the parents are a same-sex couple.
The care, control, and maintenance of a child, which a court may award to one of the parents following a Divorce or separation proceeding. Many of the custody provisions in the federal law are similar to those in the corresponding state laws. Illegitimacy; Gay and Lesbian Rights; Family Law; Parent and Child.n.
Under most circumstances, state laws provide that biological parents make all decisions that are involved in rearing their child—such as residence, education, , and religious upbringing. Most types of custody end when the child is emancipated (i.e., considered a legal adult) by becoming self-supporting, by marrying, or by reaching the age of majority as specified by state law. "Trends in Child Custody Awards: Has the Removal of Maternal Preference Made a Difference? a court's determination of which parent or relative should have physical and/or legal control and responsibility for a minor (child) under 18. The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act often works in concert with state laws, such as state adoptions of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, in order to facilitate the return of a child to the state that has proper jurisdiction. "The Brady Bunch and Other Fictions: How Courts Decide Child Custody Disputes Involving Remarried Parents." Stanford Law Review (July).