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Legal Matters to Consider When You Have Children

Being a parent carries many concerns with it. It is essentially a contract of caring for someone once they are brought into this world and making sure they get the best of it. Any loving parent would want the best for their child, so there are a lot of different aspects that need to be covered to best take care of them. Part of this has a lot to do with some legalities, which can play a significant role in their lives, especially during significant moments. It would be good preparation to consider these, whether you are thinking of having children or you already have offspring.

Creating a will

Perhaps people don’t want to think about creating wills and estate papers because it has to do with death. Of course, no parent wants to think about having to leave their children behind too soon, and it’s natural for people to put this in the back burner if they still have a zest for life and if they feel quite healthy. That said, you don’t have to be paranoid to be prepared for the worst, as life has so many unpredictable factors. It’s best to consider what will happen to your assets and who will care for your children in the event of a tragedy, and you’ll find that it is not only a responsible move but also one that can lift some worry off your shoulders.

It’s a good practice to update your will after major life events and age milestones. If the worst is to come before your child is of legal age, they will automatically be “in the system,” and the court appoints a guardian to take care of them. That does not necessarily mean a family member will be the one to take over, and many reports have historically shown how the foster care system has needed much change and can be quite damaging for a person’s upbringing. In 2019, more than 17,000 youths aged out of the system after being passed from house to house suddenly on their own with no given plans.

Legal parental responsibility

Even though it’s common knowledge to know that a parent must care and provide for their child, it can be a good idea to know what exact parameters are covered so you can best take care of them. That is especially important during the registration period for their birth and when you’re getting their papers together. While heredity is one of the main factors, legal responsibilities for parents have the same applications, even if it is only legal guardianship or adoption.

This particular section is a little more critical to navigate if you are settling custody over your children or if you are a step-parent assuming responsibility. Legally, a parent must give their descendants proper housing, consistent food, a good education, and ample medical care. On top of that, they must be emotionally healthy for their children’s needs and create an environment that is not abusive or dangerous. The parent must also be able to provide for the child financially until they graduate high school. These rules apply during divorce or annulment. Any failure to comply can turn the tide in favour of another in terms of custody agreements.

Parental rights

Girl in class studying

Since you’ll have to navigate a lot of the twists and turns in life for your kid(s), you’ll also want to know what rights you have at any given situation so you can exert them. For instance, no medical professional can make decisions for your child’s health without your agreement, so it falls on you to give the go-ahead. That doesn’t apply to emergency procedures that need to be done with time on the line, however.

There’s also the consideration of practising religion. As the parent, you are within your right to indoctrinate your children in whatever sect you are a part of, and the court does not interfere unless activities are causing harm to the child. This freedom also applies to education; any institution should inform you about the activities and learning of your child if they are a minor. Even parents who no longer have custody may still have residual rights, which give them the privilege for visitation, consent to adoption, determining the child’s religion, and the obligation to provide support. Social services and court proceedings decide whether a parent will retain these residual rights or have them terminated.

These are just the basics covered in the relevant laws regarding parenting, but it’s a good move to know them for reference.

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