Child custody can be decided between the parties through a separation agreement, parenting agreement or consent order. Child custody is one of the most difficult issues and we advise all clients to first attempt to come to an agreement, as it will affect all parties involved, including the minor children. If an agreement cannot be reached, a court using the “best interest of the child” standard will determine custody. In order to determine the best interest of the child/children, a judge will look a several factors. Once the judge has considered all of the factors, he will award custody to the parents.
Joint Custody Arrangements – Mediation
If you desire a positive result for the child custody litigation case, never wavering to compromise or refuse to cooperate with the other party will have devastating results for the child. Refusing to communicate effectively can create doubt in the court that you actually do care about the well-being of your child and are merely out to get revenge against the other parent. Even if your ex-spouse is cooperative and helpful in the child custody mediation process, never assume that cooperation means that the child custody litigation case will be resolved in your favor. The courts don t want to make this type of decision and they certainly don’t like it when parents try to use their children as leverage against the other parent to gain an advantage in the child custody litigation case. It’s always best to come to an agreement on all issues with the children’s best interests in mind.
The first thing that any family court judge will take into consideration when deciding whether or not to grant full custody to one parent is the amount of time both parents spend with the children. There is always a balance that is created when parents spend equal time with the children. Once the judges have determined that each parent is providing an adequate amount of time with the children, then he will want to look at the visitation schedule and adjust it accordingly. There is no perfect parenting plan; every plan will take into consideration several variables.
The judge may determine that either parent is providing an adequate amount of time with the children, but he may also notice that each parent is coming to the visitation late and failing to provide consistent love and support. In this case, the judge may order joint physical custody. This is different from shared physical custody. When the judge takes into consideration both physical and emotional support and realizes that the parents are unable to establish an effective parenting plan together, then he will order joint physical custody.
Best Interest of the Child
Joint child custody is not without its problems. If the parents of the child fail to reach an agreement, then the judge will have to make a decision about who gets visitation rights. He will consider the best interests of the child and award it to the spouse who is the primary caregiver. The decision about child support is also based on the best interest of the child and the income of each parent. Each parent is usually assigned an amount of child support which is agreed upon before the agreement is entered into.
The courts are not static; they are always in a state of changing opinion. As society becomes more complex, the divorce laws are becoming more complex as well. It is not uncommon for the courts to re-evaluate child custody orders and change them when necessary.
It is important that parents make it very clear what is required of them when it comes to child custody and other important decisions. It is not unusual for minor children to be placed in the care of different people because of this. It is not uncommon for the parents to struggle over who will make important decisions regarding the children. It is important that the parents work things out together and come to an agreement regarding these issues.
Joint Physical Custody Arrangement
There are a number of factors that go into deciding what is going to happen regarding child custody and other important issues. One of those factors is what is in the best interests of the child. Each state has a different list of what are in the best interests of a child. The judge will look at what would be in the best interests of the child to ensure that he is ordering child custody arrangements that benefit the child. There is a big difference between child custody orders that are shared and those that are awarded jointly. Child custody orders that are shared usually favor of joint physical custody arrangements.
The judge will look at the preference of each parent as well as any other circumstances that exist. If at all possible, the parents should try to have child custody mediation sessions. This allows both parents to voice their opinions about the custody issues and to try to iron out any problems that they may have. Child custody mediation can be especially helpful if the parents are very angry with one another and do not want to go to court. A mediator can help the parents get to an agreement that benefits the child.
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