Getting divorced is not something that anyone looks forward to, but if you have children then the process is even more painful. If you’re fighting for child custody in divorce you will need to find a good lawyer. Even if you’re planning to share joint custody of a child, you’ll need to get a legal agreement drawn up regarding guardianship and visitation. You will need to document things like who can make decisions about education and medical treatment, and you will need to discuss custody arrangements.
Child custody in divorce is an emotive topic. It’s something that can turn an amicable divorce into a true battlefield. For those who were leaving a relationship because of domestic violence, it is even more important to be proactive, to protect the interests of your children.
In some states, a child’s custodial preference is taken into account when deciding who a child will live with. This is something that you should find out about as a part of your legal procedings.
Another thing that is looked at is whether or not it is OK for you to change your child’s name after a divorce takes place. Sometimes the courts will allow this, but sometimes they will not. Their only interest is to make sure that the child’s wellbeing is protected.
There is a common perception that mothers have more rights when it comes to child custody, but this is not actually true. The custody laws in the USA do not actually give mothers an advantage when a case goes to court. It tends to be circumstances and personal preferences that mean that mothers are more likely to fight for, and get, custody.
Some states ask parents to take psychological tests, and will use the results of those tests to decide who gets custody of the child.
There are a few different kinds of custody – ‘legal’, ‘physical’, ‘sole’, and ‘joint’, and depending on the type of divorce that you are going through, you may opt for different choices.
Some parents are very good at co-parenting, and can put their differences aside when their relationship breaks down. Others are less able to communicate effectively, and it becomes necessary for legal agreements and restrictions, so that the parents can set boundaries.
Try not to involve your child in the disputes too much. They do deserve to know what is going on in your relationship, but it is unfair to ask them to take sides or to badmouth the other parent. Treat them like adults, and explain to them that while you and your partner have decided to go your separate ways, but that you both still love them and want the best for them. If the courts want statements from the child, don’t try to buy or barter for their affection. Honesty is the most effective long term strategy, and children do tend to understand more than you might first think. Give them the credit that they will make the right decision.