Children and child support/alimony

My husband/wife doesn't want to let me see my children. How can I defend myself?

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, you will need to take the matter to court, which will make a decision on custody and visitation rights that both sides will have to uphold. We recommend that you contact child protective services as well and inform them of the situation.

If we want shared custody, does that mean I won't have to pay child support?

Shared custody does not automatically mean that neither parent pays child support. The law says that children's standard of living after the divorce should be essentially the same as their parents' standard of living. Especially if one parent earns significantly more and the other parent is objectively unable to achieve similar earnings, the court can set child support even if the children are in shared custody.

What does the court take into consideration when deciding on custody arrangements?

In setting custody and visitation rights, the court primarily considers the needs of the child, not only the suggestion of the parents. With older children, the court should take their opinion into account. The established division of care between the parents may also play a role, although the court always decides on the individual merits of each case. Child protective services also gives its opinion to the court.

I am not satisfied with the amount set for child support/alimony - how soon can I request a change?

You can request a change in child support/alimony essentially any time a change occurs in the circumstances based on which the previous decision was made.

Do I have to pay alimony to my former spouse as well?

Under certain circumstances a former spouse may be required to pay alimony if the other spouse's standard of living is to be significantly different after the divorce and they would be unable to support themselves.

What role does child protective services play in setting custody and child support?

Child protective services acts as the unbiased representative of the child in court proceedings setting child support. Its primary purpose is to protect the interests of the child. It may make statements, file motions and/or make position statements in the proceedings.