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There's no doubt that child custody determinations can be hotly contested battles between parents. So it's probably not surprising that not all parents play by the rules. Even though it may come from a place of love and caring for the child, some parents have been known to stretch the truth or lie during child custody hearings or on court documents in order to gain or maintain custody.

Parents have been known to fib about a child's proximity to friends and family, dissemble about their own drinking or drug use, and even falsify allegations of child abuse. Needless to say, you should never lie about child custody. And if you or your ex-spouse do, here's what can happen.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services, claiming the agency allows state-contracted and taxpayer-funded child placement agencies to use religious objections as a way to discriminate against qualified families based on their sexual orientation. The suit was filed on behalf of two same-sex couples who were denied the opportunity to adopt or foster children because of agencies' religious objections, as well as one woman who was in Michigan's foster care system as a teenager.

All are objecting to Michigan allocating taxpayer funds to adoption and foster services that discriminate against qualified parents and homes.

Top 5 Legal Tips Before Eloping

You want to get married on the fly, possibly in secret. But that doesn't mean you can't put some planning into your elopement. And if you want your secret marriage to last, in the legal sense at least, you'll want to be prepared.

Here is our best legal advice for eloping couples, from our archives:

Top 5 Legal Tips for Teens

Teenagers seem to occupy a social and emotional middle ground: not children, but not quite adults; so much responsibility, but not all of it; independent in so many ways, dependent in others. Much of that is also true when it comes to legal grounds.

The law is a little different when it comes to teenagers, so here are some of our best legal tips for teens, from our archives:

You don't always have to tell the truth. And you generally can't be sued for little white lies, like telling your spouse you'd do the dishes without following through, or saying you're "just going out for some cigarettes."

But court is one of those places where lying will get you into serious trouble. And even if you're not appearing in court, filing false documents or claims with the court can be just as bad. As tempting as you might be to embellish or exaggerate your situation, especially in a divorce case, telling the truth in court, and in court documents, is the only way to go.

For low-income families, access to child care can be crucial. After all, if you can't trust that your child will be cared for while you're at work, you're probably not going to work. But as many parents know, finding affordable child care is a challenge. So there are local, state, and even federal programs in place to help working parents afford day care for their children.

While these services can change the lives of low-income families, the subsidies themselves are subject to change. When that happens, parents will often receive what is known as a "Notice of Action," advising them of the change. This can be a scary process, so here is some information on the notices and how to handle them.

Of course you're going to text with your spouse, just like you would anyone else. (Well, maybe not just like anyone else, but you get the point.) And if your spouse is becoming your ex, there might be some things contained in your text messages you don't want seeing the light of day, much less a divorce proceeding.

But if your soon-to-be-ex's attorney subpoenas your text messages, do you have to hand them over? Isn't there some kind of marriage privilege?

Whether you're just getting divorced or still hashing out custody issues with an old ex, you're probably wondering if you need the help of an attorney. Beyond having expertise in the field generally and familiarity with the court or judges involved specifically, an experienced child custody lawyer can act as a reasoned buffer between you and your ex (and possibly his or her attorney).

But how do you get a sense of the custody procedures and process and figure out which custody lawyer is right for you? Here are five questions to ask a potential child custody attorney, before you hire them.

Married couples frequently hold bank accounts jointly. When a couple divorces, the marital property and assets, including joint bank accounts, must be divided. But do you have to maintain that joint account during the divorce process?

Many divorcing individuals are often confused about the rules for joint bank accounts once the divorce process gets started. Below, you can find some guidance, but be careful, as the laws governing divorce vary from state to state, so it'll always be best to check with a local attorney before taking action.

When making child custody determinations, courts and child service agencies will make decisions in the child's best interests, and those interests can be examined through a variety of factors, from safety and stability to continuity of family, friend, and school relationships. Absent clear evidence of abuse or absenteeism, rarely is one circumstance solely determinative of custody.

But one Oregon couple is claiming that a single factor, their IQ, has been used to deny them custody of their two young children, even causing Department of Human Services to step in and take the couple's second child before he could even leave the hospital.