Any time a couple files for divorce and children are involved, legal decisions and arrangements must be made for the children. Child custody and visitation is a major focus of many divorce and legal separation cases, in addition to property concerns and other issues. For example, many divorce decrees has a separate section which discusses child custody and visitation arrangements issued by a family court judge. Once the divorce is finalized, all parties must abide by the custody order and the visitation schedule.
Parents can either resolve their child custody cases out of court (through mediation or arbitration) or in front of a family court judge. In all circumstances, the overarching consideration in making any decision regarding the child is determining whether the “best interest of the child” is being met. In general, the child’s “best interests” means that custody and visitation is made with the ultimate goal of encouraging the child’s happiness and mental health. The following factors are typically considered:
If one parent is deemed unfit for custody of the child or children, perhaps because she is abusive, financial unstable, or mentally unstable, the other parent is typically awarded full custody of the child. When both parties are considered fit parents, custody of the child may be split equally among both parents.
Legal Issues Affecting Children in Divorce
All divorce cases have different facts and circumstances, but there are often many of the same legal issues when children are involved. Some legal problems impacting children during divorce proceedings include the following:
The child’s right to choose which parent to live with varies from state to state, but in general, the standards that all states employ is the “Best Interest of the Child” standard. It takes into consideration the child’s preference with regard to who he or she would like to live with. However, the child does not have the legal right to choose one parent over the other to live with. Instead, it is one of many factors that the courts consider in determining what is in the child’s best interest.
Divorce can be difficult, especially if children are involved. If you are facing divorce and are concerned how divorce will affect your child or children, consult a skilled family law attorney. An attorney can represent your interests and give you advice so that your child’s best interests are served.
Last Modified: 10-01-2017 06:51 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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