Leverage sibling power to improve your chances in custody court

Posted June 1st, 2016.

Categories: Custody Tips, Family Law.

sibling rights mark s guralnick

Not only do the courts protect the rights of parents to have access to their children, but they also protect the rights of other family members to have such access. For example, grandparents’ rights have been protected for many years, although they have recently been weakened by a number of federal legal decisions and state statutory amendments.

The rights of siblings — brother and sisters — remains very strong, however. In fact, many states provide that siblings have rights of visitation with each other in contested child custody cases. Understanding the rights of siblings can be very helpful in fighting for your own custody rights in family court. For example, let’s say that you wish to have additional parenting time with a 15-year-old daughter. The child’s 22-year-old brother lives with you, and he hasn’t seen enough of his sister either. In making your bid for additional time with your daughter, you can invoke (and your son can independently invoke) the 22-year-old son’s right to spend additional time with his sister.

Here’s another example: Let’s say that you’ve remarried and had a child with your new spouse. Let’s also assume that your new child has bonded well with his two half-brothers from your prior marriage. You can argue that your right to parenting time with your older children should be expanded, in part, because of the three children have a right to spend time together.

Read over the state laws in your jurisdiction which pertain to sibling visitation rights. You may be surprised to learn that many of the principles and policies set forth in those laws apply to your family. By invoking those laws and arguing the right of the siblings to spend increased time with each other, you may be improve your own custody and visitation rights along the way.

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