Gaining an Edge on the Custody Battle
Copyright © 2009 StraightDivorce.com
One of the most painful parts of getting a divorce occurs when the two people have already brought children into the world and have to decide who gets child custody. Child custody issues are usually at the top of the list for debate and cause the most turmoil in the divorce process. When splitting up a family, no matter how much a couple may want out of the marriage, deciding on custody is a terribly difficult decision.
What Exactly Does Custody Entail?
At one time parents shared in all the responsibilities of their children and when considering divorce, all of a sudden both parents are faced with the heartbreaking emotions of who will be the primary caregiver. And although it’s common for mothers to gain custody, more and more fathers in today’s world are choosing to fight for custody. Overall, custody pertains to decision-making authority. Having one parent take sole custody. alleviates concerns regarding the decisions of a child’s life. Custody refers to the person who has the legal right to make the important decisions in the life of a child and addresses most major life issues such as religion, education and health that impact on a child’s life. It also means that the children will live primarily with one parent, although many parents are now opting to share custody. By and large, custody issues cause conflict primarily because most parents want to be in control of where the child lives and how much time the child spends with the parent. For the most part, children do best when each parent plays a role regarding the important factors in the child’s life.
How Custody is Determined
When parents divorce, if there is a fight for custody, a judge will take into account the best interest of the child before making a final decision. Some states have different laws concerning child custody, so when getting a divorce it’s best to check the laws in your particular state. In addition, if both parents have trouble deciding on custody, they should speak with a divorce attorney or mediator who may help them reach a positive agreement. Generally speaking, when parents can’t agree, the court looks at who has been the primary care-giving parent, the amount of time the parents have spent with the children, as well as the living situation of the parent, and all the circumstances surrounding their situation. Before determining what would be best for the children, many things are taken into consideration.
Tips for Preparing For a Custody Battle
Often when a divorce is nasty, parents will fight over custody. If you feel you are the best parent for custody, it’s best to keep a journal documenting all the things you do for your children and all the things your ex does for the children. If you want to win a custody battle, when facing a judge, you must show the court that you are the primary caregiver. Whether you are the father or the mother who wants to have custody, you have to show that you can parent on your own. In other words, who makes arrangements for school and childcare? Do you have a good place to live and a decent job? Do you have strong connections to your community as well as friends and neighbors? To win custody, you have to be able to show why you qualify for custody over your ex. You can also find people who will testify on your behalf demonstrating why your skills as a parent are better than your soon to be ex.
Joint or Shared Physical Custody
For lots of parents these days, joint or shared physical custody is the ideal solution. Shared custody is where the child’s time is divided between both parents’ homes. While it may not be possible to split the time completely in half, it often works well with parents who can agree. Sometimes the children spend the school year with one parent and the summer with the other parent. At other times weekdays are spent with one parent and weekends with the other parent. Going back and forth every day can be very challenging, but if parents live near each other, it’s being done more all the time. Whatever you think might be best, make sure to discuss these issues with a good divorce attorney, as they will give you further advice as to how to handle the situation in your state.