Child custody is one of the most complicated aspects of a divorce. Both parents have rights and responsibilities towards their children and divorce proceedings decide what these are. A good lawyer can help you get an amicable settlement with fair parental rights and responsibilities. Here’s an insight into what you can expect during this entire process:
- Different Types of Custody
There are different types of custody arrangements available to divorcing couples and all of them can be modified to suit any personal circumstances involved. Custody dictates where the child lives and who can make decisions regarding their welfare. The options available to parents include:
- Joint Legal Custody – Both parents have the right to make critical decisions regarding their child. All major factors like education, medical care, activities, vacations, religious instructions, etc., must be discussed beforehand. Most legal systems favor this because children have the support of both parents, which has a positive impact on their development.
- Sole Legal Custody – Under this option, only one parent can make decisions regarding their child. Courts award this only if they believe children won’t benefit from joint legal custody.
- Physical Custody – This means parents have the right to maintain a home and provide care to a minor child. Courts can award sole custody or joint so the child spends some time with one parent and some with other. The rights of one parent don’t exceed the rights of other in joint physical custody.
Custody applies to all parents, whether they’re married or not. In an uncontested proceeding, both parties can agree on what’s best for the child and how much they can do before signing any agreements. In contested divorces, these negotiations can take a long time and that can have a negative impact on children involved.
Both parents must financially contribute to the expenses involved in raising a child. The court will decide on the amount and this can be changed later if their financial circumstances change. For example, if a parent loses their job, they might want to renegotiate terms of child support to ensure they can fulfill all obligations without facing too much financial strain.
Child support negotiations take every parent’s personal capabilities as well as the child’s requirements into consideration. Good lawyers will build a solid case if couples can’t reach an amicable settlement so the judge can come to a fair decision.
Abuse and Alienation
Most parents will do their best to protect their child’s interest, but sometimes additional protection is needed. Cases with abuse and alienation are tricky because children must be protected from both. Physical or mental abuse can leave behind lifelong scars and have a big impact on a child’s mental development.
Alienation is also a form of abuse because it involves emotional manipulation or brainwashing. One parent can abuse a child’s trust in them by cultivating fear, distrust, disrespect, or outright hostility towards the other parent. This level of manipulation can cause serious mental harm to children, which is why quick legal action is essential.
Judges will always make decisions based on the child’s best interest. Carrying out proper negotiations and arriving at an amicable settlement before a court helps ensure both parents, as well as the children, have a fair arrangement. Courts usually want children to have a healthy relationship with both parents so they will make decisions based on that.
After the settlements are made, it’s not a good idea to violate court orders. Parents must allow visitation unless they have a valid reason not to. Child support should be paid regularly and if parties involved are unable, they must inform in advance.