Family Law

Lisa Chesley

  • Divorce
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Paternity
  • Order for Protection

The term “family law” is a broad term used to describe legal matters which involve families.  Such matters include, divorce, paternity, custody, child support, order for protection, and child(ren) in need of protective services.  Family law matters can be complicated both emotionally and legally.  You need a lawyer you can trust to help you protect the things that are most important to you such as your children and your assets.   We are here to help you understand your rights and to help you make good decisions when things are most difficult.

Questions & Answers

Q: My ex-girlfriend and I have a daughter together.She won’t let me see our two year old. When we were together, we took turns taking care of our daughter because we worked opposite shifts. How can I see my daughter?

A: You need to go to court. As an unmarried dad, you have to get a court order. First, you have to establish that you are the child’s biological father. If you and your ex-girlfriend signed a document at the hospital called a Recognition of Parentage, you don’t have to prove that you are the dad. Otherwise, you might have to go through blood tests. Once the judge determines that you are the biological father, you are then free to ask for as much parenting time as you feel is appropriate, from full physical custody to alternating weekends.

Q: Would I have a case to go after my ex-husband’s inheritance after his mother passes away? He was ordered to pay child support and provide health insurance, neither of which he did. My child is now 22 years old.

A: Yes the inheritance would be able to be gone after. The fact that the child is 22 makes no difference. If you had automatic income withholding through the state and there are docketed arrears, you should make the state aware that he received (or is to receive) an inheritance. They will likely intervene so that the inheritance is garnished for back due support.

Q: My ex wife and I have a son who is going to graduate from high school in June, but doesn’t turn age 18 until August. When does the child support obligation end? Does it make any difference if my son wants to go to college? Is child support still owed when he is in college?

A: In most cases, child support ends when a child turns both age 18 AND graduates from high school. This means that the child support obligation ends in August. As far as child support in college is concerned, there is no obligation to pay child support when a child is in college, unless it is something that you agreed upon in your divorce agreement.

Q: I know a girl who is nearly 13 years old .  She has said that she wants to go live with her father.  Her mother has full physical custody at this time and is living with her, her 5 month old brother and mom’s boyfriend in an office. Can dad get custody?

A: If the parents get along, I’d suggest that the girl live with dad on a trial basis to see how it goes. I have had cases where a teenaged child moves from one home to the other only to find that the new home wasn’t as great as the child was hoping and ended up moving back with the original custodial parent. If a trial arrangement doesn’t work, the dad can file a court document called a Motion.  The Motion is a request to the judge to change custody. The dad would also need to file an Affidavit in which he explains why the thirteen year old daughter is ‘endangered’ in her current environment and why it would be better for her to live with him. A thirteen year old child is old enough to express an opinion about where she lives. Although the judge isn’t bound by her opinion, the judge will certainly listen to the child’s thoughts.  Changing custody can be complicated and I would urge the dad to consult with an attorney.


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