Children and the Divorce Process

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Most Common Family Law Issues:

What Part Do Children Play in the Divorce Process?

Children are not part of the decision-making process in the divorce hearing and children are not allowed to contribute to major decisions in a divorce case, unless they have reached the majority age (usually 17 or 18 years old in most states).

This means that issues such as child custody/support, visitation schedules, and relocation, are to be decided collectively by the judge and the parents. If the parents cannot reach a mutual agreement, then such major decisions will be made by the judge. 

In every divorce case where children are involved, the judge must base important decisions upon the “Child’s Best Interest Standard”. This means that the court must consider the needs and desires of the child first, before taking into consideration the wishes of either parent.  For example, a judge will not grant custody to a parent if it will negatively affect the child’s upbringing, even if the parent does not agree with such a conclusion. 

What Types of Legal Issues Affect Children in the Divorce Process?

While every divorce case is going to be different, there are several common legal issues that arise if children are involved. These legal issues are often the most important part of the divorce proceeding, especially if the parents are in agreement on all other factors. Some of the legal issues that may affect children during divorce proceedings include:

What Factors Are Considered When Using the “Child’s Best Interest” Standard?

The main idea is not to disrupt the continuity of the child’s upbringing; the court will do their best to make sure that any decisions do not create major disruptions in the child’s life. The “Child’s Best Interest Standard" involves an analysis of many different factors, which may include:

Thus, the “child’s best interest” actually involves the background of both the child as well as each individual parent. This means that any determination that involves children will be subject to a thorough analysis of all the relevant factors.

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.

Some other ways to help a child cope with a divorce are:

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Divorce where Children are involved?

Divorce can be a difficult process, especially if it involves children. If you are facing divorce, you may wish to consult with a family lawyer for advice and representation. Your attorney can help provide you with valuable advice so that the best interests of your children are served.   

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Last Modified: 04-25-2017 12:30 PM PDT

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