Children and Divorce

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What are Some Considerations When Handling Children and Divorce?

In any divorce proceeding, the involvement of children is one of the most important aspects of the case.  Child custody and visitation is a major focus of many divorce and legal separation cases, in addition to property concerns and other issues.  Most divorce and family laws have specific rules when it comes to the handling of such issues in a divorce case.

For instance, many divorce decrees will also include a section that finalizes the child custody and visitation arrangement once the divorce is finalized.  After the divorce is complete, the parties must then abide by the custody order, along with the proposed visitation schedule.  In some cases, this can extend the divorce proceeding as such issues are resolved through the court’s intervention.

If one party is deemed unfit for custody of the child or children, the other partner will usually assume full custody of the child.  In some instances, custody of the child is split equally, with each parent also assuming a similar schedule for visitation and child-rearing responsibilities. 

Can Children Contribute to the Decisions Made in the Divorce Process?

Usually, children are not part of the decision-making process during a divorce hearing.  This is because for the most part, children are not deemed to have legal decision-making capacity until they reach the age of majority (18 years old in most states).  Thus, when it comes to issues such as child custody and visitation, the children usually do not have a “say”, legally speaking. 

Instead, the court will determine the various factors that will influence any decisions that would affect the children in a divorce case.  These can include:

On the other hand, all custody and visitation decisions are to be made according to the “child’s best interest” standard.  That is, the needs of the children are considered before the desires and preferences of the adults.  This is also true for other major decisions affecting the children, especially those related to child support.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Children and Divorce?

Handling a divorce proceeding can be difficult, especially if you need to consider the needs of children.  You may wish to contact a lawyer if you need assistance in filing a divorce.  Your attorney can advise you on the laws in your area, and how the divorce may affect any children involved.  Also, your attorney can provide you with expert legal guidance on any other major issues during the legal proceedings.

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Last Modified: 04-07-2014 10:08 AM PDT

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