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Friday, 22 August 2014

Sorry Peruvians, You're Not Americans

I first had this argument over 10 years ago and I was flabbergasted. I wasn't trying to be mean or rude or look down on Peruvians, I just simply couldn't understand what they were getting at. Let's do a quick exercise.
  • Britons are from. . . . Britain
  • Chinese are from . . . . China
  • Danes are from . . . . Denmark
  • Latvians are from . . . . Latvia
  • Russians are from . . . Russia

What would you say if I told you:
  • Americans are from . . . . Peru
If this were on a test I'd mark it as wrong. Americans aren't from Peru. They're from America. Peruvians are from Peru.

The issue that some Peruvians have with this is that they say that there are only five continents: the Americas, Antartica, Asia, Australiasia, and Europe. Due to this anyone from the Americas is American. Now depending on who you talk to you'll find out that there are 4-7 continents in the world.

The issue I have with this is that people don't refer to the continent they're from. They refer to the country they're from. They might tell you what continent their country is on, but they're not going to use that adjective to describe themselves. For example, a Kenyan isn't going to say, "I'm African". They're going to say, "I'm Kenyan". Or they might take it a step further and refer to the city they're from, stating that they're from London or New York.

Peruvians also have another issue with this and that's due to language. You see, in Spanish Americans are called "norteamericanos/as" if you want to translate it directly it would be North American. However, there are three countries in North America: Canada, the USA, and Mexico. In Spanish, Canadians are called "canadienses" and Mexicans are called "mexicanos/as". For that matter in Spanish, Peruvians are called "peruanos". If you're looking to learn Spanish, two programmes I recommend are Synergy Spanish and Fluent in 3 Months.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, but to the Peruvians who insist that they're "American" I tell them to go to the USA with no visa or no green card and to tell the immigration officer to let them in, because after all, "they're American".

The Ultimate Peru List recommends:

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Custody vs Parental Rights

I've gotten two emails in the last month about this topic so I thought I'd write a blog post about it. I am not a lawyer and this is not meant to be construed as legal advice.

Allowing Both Parents to Raise Their Kids 
Most countries believe that it's in the child's best interest to have access to both parents. This is done through:
  • Physical custody
  • Legal custody
  • Visitation rights
  • Parental rights
Divorce is common nowadays and with it comes child custody issues. There's two types of custody: legal and physical. Physical custody is whose home the child lives in and legal custody is who makes decisions about the child's well-being.

Some type of joint or shared custody is often preferred over sole custody. For example, a mother may get sole (or primary) physical custody over her child, but they share legal custody. In the case of schooling, travel, medical decisions, etc, both parents must sign off.

Visitation Rights
Just because one parent has sole physical custody does not mean that they other parent doesn't get visitation rights. There are three types of visitation rights: no visitation, supervised visitation, and visitation.

Parental Rights
Once a mother's and father's name is written on the child's birth cert, they get parental rights. In some cases, when parental rights are terminated, the names can be erased from the birth certificate. Laws vary state by state and country by country.

Terminating parental rights is a major affair and can take years. It is not something to be taken lightly and is considered to be a last resort. There has to be a solid reason for terminating parental rights, ex. one (or both) of the parents is in prison due to committing a serious crime, is a sex offender, is mentally unstable, one (or both) of the parents has abandoned the child and has not had contact for years, one (or both) of the parents is a drug abuser or alcoholic, one (or both) of the parents is a threat to the child's well-being, and so on. Not all reasons are bad. Adoption is one example of having parental rights terminated. When a family adopts a child the birth parents lose their parental rights and the adoptive parents gain them. 

There are two ways to terminate parental rights: voluntarily or involuntarily. While some parents may willingly give up parental rights temporarily or permanently, many parents refuse to do so and courts have to get involved.

In conclusion
When getting a divorce or separating the court will make a decision based on what's best for the child. Being spiteful and getting revenge can only do harm and not good. If you're living in Peru and have registered your marriage in Peru, you should also register your divorce there. You may have to notarise, legalise, or apostillise documents. Contacting lawyers in Peru can help. If you don't understand Spanish, I highly recommend you start learning so that you can know what's going on when you go through these legal proceedings. Two programmes I recommend are Synergy Spanish and Fluent in 3 Months.

The Ultimate Peru List recommends:

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