Your parents can also come to court to ask the judge to decide who your father or mother is. This may be because your father or motherís name is not on your birth certificate, or because your parents werenít married to each other when you were born. The judge can make a decision about who is legally your father or mother. This decision is called paternity or parentage.

Domestic Violence

Sometimes parents, or people who live together, get scared of each other. Some parents hurt each other or their children. This is called domestic violence. If one parent hurts or really scares the other parent, that other parent can ask the judge for help. The judge can make a court order that tells the parent who is hurting or scaring the family to stay away and not hurt the family anymore. This kind of court order is called a restraining order, or sometimes a TRO, for temporary restraining order.

Evaluation and Parenting Plans

If your parents and the mediator canít work out a parenting plan, the judge may tell your parents to get a custody evaluation. A custody evaluator will spend some time getting to know both you and your parents. After that, the evaluator will think about what would be the best way for you to spend time with your parents. Then the evaluator will tell the judge what he or she thinks.

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