Why do we need to know if minor children are (or could be) an issue?
- Because divorcing parents will no longer live together once divorced the court must make orders regarding how much time their minor children (i.e., children under the age of 18) will spend in the care and custody of each parent on a yearly, monthly, weekly, or even a daily basis. The court needs you to identify your children, so that it can make child custody and visitation (now known as “parent-time”) orders.
- Children of your marriage can include not only children born during the marriage, but also:
- children conceived between and born to you and the person you subsequently married
- children conceived during the marriage born after the marriage is terminated by divorce
- children adopted during the marriage
- Even stepparents can seek court orders of child custody or parent-time between them and their stepchildren, if the circumstances warrant
- If the wife became pregnant by adultery during the marriage, the husband is presumed by law to be the father of that child, unless the husband and/or wife challenge the husband’s paternity in a court action before divorce or in the course of the divorce action itself. If a husband:
- is not the biological father of a child conceived as the result of the wife’s adultery and to whom the wife gives birth during the marriage; and
husband’s paternity is not adjudicated by a court before a decree of divorce is issued, then husband is deemed by law to the child’s father. So if a child was conceived as the result of adultery or born during the marriage, if the husband does not want to be legally deemed the child’s father and does not want to be forced by law to support this child, you will need to bring this up in your divorce pleadings.