Child Custody and the Issue of Inheritance
As modern societies have increased the formation of more complex types of family relationships, laws governing the family have also increased, besides becoming more intricate. Divorce, for instance, is one issue that leads to many other matters the need to be settled either by the divorcing couple or by the court, if the couple cannot come to agreeable terms; matters, such as alimony or spousal support, division of properties, assets and debts, (if the couple has a child, then) child custody and child support, and now, another concern that is becoming more common, inheritance claims.
Child custody is probably the most complicated divorce-related issue that needs to be settled, that is, if both parents refuse to surrender their custodial right to each other. But since there is no fixed law that governs all U.S. states, as most of the factors considered by family law courts differ from one state to another, except for one – that whoever the custodial parent will be should be based on the best interest of the child, many other factors come into play, including being a fit parent. Whatever decision a court makes, after hearing and evaluating all pertinent matters that will affect the child’s future, is made as part of the divorce decree. This divorce decree identifies the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights and who will provide financial support.
During the latter part of the 1800s, however, custodial right was solely awarded to fathers due to inheritance issues and the Property Law. The Tender Years Doctrine changed this tradition at beginning of the 19th century. This doctrine, which presumed that mothers naturally did much better in taking care of young children, lasted until the 1970s.
Regardless of who gets custodial rights, children, and even grandchildren, under certain limited conditions, are entitled to claim a share in their parent’s property, after the death of that parent. This claim to an inheritance is possible, overriding even, in some cases, what the deceased parent’s wills and trusts say. Inheritance disputes, though, are often highly contentious and controversial, that having a Houston lawyer of the Mokaram Law Firm, who is well informed in inheritance laws and procedures, is often necessary.