The process of deciding on child custody is complicated. Several myths can make it more complex. If you’re a parent who has recently separated from your spouse, you’ve heard horror stories about custody battles. Fortunately, there are many ways to determine living arrangements outside of court.
It can be decided by voluntary agreement
Voluntary agreements are often the most effective way for parents to determine custody of their children. This type of arrangement focuses on the child’s best interests. If the parents cannot agree, custody litigation may be required. This process is more stressful and costly than a voluntary agreement. It also puts the judge in charge of the child’s life—fortunately, only a tiny percentage of cases handled by a family law lawyer end in trial. Parents can usually agree on child custody with a family law lawyer’s assistance without going to court.
Although you can reach a voluntary agreement with your ex without hiring a lawyer, you should still retain an attorney to protect your interests. An attorney will ensure your arrangement is legally binding and protect your parental rights.
Legal custody can be shared between parents
Legal custody can be shared between parents in a divorce. While parents must make decisions regarding their children’s upbringing, the courts will also consider other factors, such as parental responsibilities and the child’s best interests. Courts often deny charges to a parent who has hostility toward the child.
Physical custody is also an important consideration. If both parents are equally eligible to raise the child, shared custody may be a good choice for both parties. Shared custody gives both parents equal time with the child, but joint custody is not the same. While the child will be living with one parent most of the time, the noncustodial parent will have more opportunities to spend time with the child.
A court order can decide it
The court will issue a temporary order when a parent seeks child custody. This order may not include child support. The parties must settle the case or go to trial.
The courts will look for the child’s best interests when deciding custody. They will favor a parent who will foster a child’s relationship with the other parent and provide a stable environment. For example, the parent who is the primary caregiver for younger children may be granted custody. For older children, a parent who can provide continuity in religious life, schooling, and neighborhood life will be favored.
If the parties cannot agree on a custody arrangement, either parent may file a petition for modification. However, the suing parent must prove that a significant change has occurred since the previous custody order was issued. Additionally, the requesting parent must demonstrate that the change in custody is in the child’s best interest.
It can be difficult if there is no custody order in place
You should consult a family law lawyer to ensure your child is appropriately cared for. The court determines child custody based on many factors, including your child’s best interests. For instance, your income will likely play a huge factor in child support, alimony, and contributions to the child’s expenses. However, there are some factors you should be aware of before consulting a family law attorney.
One of the most critical factors determining custody and parenting time is the distance between homes. Judges will be more likely to award a time-sharing schedule if the children live near one parent. This is important for two reasons: it allows the kids to continue doing activities they enjoy with either parent. And it helps preserve stronger friendships. It’s also less taxing on the kids.
Cooperative parents tend to have an edge in a custody dispute
The more cooperative a parent is, the more likely they will be to win a child custody case. Judges look for evidence of good parenting, such as cooperation in determining the parenting schedule. They will also look at other factors, such as whether the parent is badmouthing the other parent in front of the children or interfering with the child’s visitation. Judges don’t like parents who attempt to isolate the other parent, so they will be more likely to award custody to the other parent.
Aside from cooperating, cooperative parents also demonstrate commitment to their children. They should maximize time with their children when they have weekend visitation rights. This shows the judge that they put their children first. Similarly, parents should not cancel scheduled time with their children or show up late.