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Melanie Griffith seeks physical custody of 17-year-old daughter

When news of a celebrity divorce arises, there often seems to be a great deal of discussion surrounding property settlement issues. Many high-profile cases generate discussions of prenuptial agreements, if any, or more direct conversions regarding assets that may be a part of the marital estates. But, when a couple in any walk of has a child (or children), the issues of child custody and support may be of paramount concern for a divorcing parent.

People in the greater Dallas area may have heard the Melanie Griffith has filed for divorce from Antonio Banderas. The two have been married for roughly 18 years and have a 17-year-old daughter. Although the daughter will turn 18 in September, Ms. Griffith is seeking to have the court rule on child support and custody issues.

Ms. Griffith’s divorce papers indicate that she wants physical custody of the child, while allowing Banderas to have visitation rights. The divorce papers contemplate joint legal custody. In addition, Ms. Griffith is seeking spousal and child support in the divorce. The papers indicate that there may be property issues, although it is not clear what property may be involved in the divorce.

The family law case is not governed under Texas law, so some of the terminology may differ from what Texans may be accustomed to. But, many of the concepts are similar. Texas law uses the term conservatorship when addressing custody issues. Courts typically prefer the parties to have joint managing conservatorship of the children.

Custody and visitation issues are determined under the best interests of the child. Legal custody of a child essentially involves a determination of who will have the authority to manage important issues, such as education, medical decisions, religion and similar topics. Joint legal custody (or joint managing conservatorship in Texas) involves a situation when it is in the best interests of the child for the parents to continue to share these responsibilities.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Melanie Griffith divorcing Antonio Banderas after 18-year marriage,” Nardine Saad, June 6, 2014

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