Child Custody In Divorce Cases

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By Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C.Article

Navigating the complexities of divorce can be a daunting process, especially when children are involved. Understanding how child custody works in a divorce case is crucial for parents who are aiming to make the best decisions for their family’s future. Our friends at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law are here to shed light on the key aspects of child custody in divorce cases, providing a clearer path for those facing this difficult journey.

Understanding Child Custody

Child custody refers to the legal rights and responsibilities a parent has towards their child. There are two main types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody determines where the child will live, while legal custody involves decisions about the child’s education, health care, and other important matters. These can be awarded to one parent (sole custody) or shared between both parents (joint custody), depending on the case’s circumstances.

Best Interests Of The Child

The cornerstone of any custody decision is the child’s best interests. Courts consider a range of factors to determine what will best serve the child’s welfare, including:

  • The child’s age, sex, and mental and physical health
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • The lifestyle and social factors of each parent
  • The emotional bond between the child and each parent
  • The parent’s ability to provide stability
  • Any history of abuse

The child’s preference may also be considered if they are of a sufficient age and maturity to express a reasoned opinion.

Types Of Custody Arrangements

  1. Sole Custody: One parent is granted the majority of custody rights, while the non-custodial parent may receive visitation rights. Sole custody might be awarded in cases where one parent is deemed unfit due to reasons such as substance abuse or a history of violence.
  2. Joint Custody: Both parents share legal and/or physical custody of the child. This arrangement requires parents to collaborate closely on raising their child and is often awarded when both parents are capable of providing a stable and healthy environment.
  3. Split Custody: In families with multiple children, split custody allows each parent to have full physical custody over different children. This arrangement is less common and typically not favored by courts due to the potential emotional impact on siblings.

The Custody Process

The custody process typically begins as part of the divorce proceedings. Parents may come to an agreement on custody arrangements through negotiation or mediation. If an agreement cannot be reached, the matter will proceed to court, where a judge will make the decision based on the child’s best interests.

Modifying Custody Orders

Custody orders are not set in stone. As children grow and circumstances change, it may be necessary to modify the custody arrangement. Either parent can request a modification, but they must demonstrate a significant change in circumstances that affects the child’s best interest.

Child custody is one of the most sensitive aspects of a divorce. A family lawyer will be there to provide the guidance and support you need to navigate this complex process. They are committed to ensuring that the best interests of your children are at the forefront of any custody decision, working tirelessly to achieve an arrangement that promotes their well-being and happiness.

Remember, every family’s situation is unique, and legal advice should be tailored to individual circumstances. For more information or to discuss your case, please contact a law firm near you.

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