Deciding on Child Custody

Child custody is one of the most important things that need consideration when a married couple that has children goes through a divorce. While there are certain differences in state laws regarding the granting of child custody, most are generally the same or similar. Many states and courts will attempt to grant joint custody; however, in certain situations, this is not possible, leading to one parent or even another relative, such as a grandparent or uncle, having custody.

The child’s best interest – one of the most important factors that courts consider, custody is often given to the person who can provide the best mental and physical care for the child, which includes providing proper and healthy living conditions for the child., if the parents can reach an agreement on visitation, custody, and child support, then this issue will not need to be taken to court and can be resolved in a more efficient manner. However, as both a complex and contentious issue, many people seek legal support in order to better understand the process and agreements, not to mention protect their interests. In this situation, a child custody issue may be taken to court, where the following will likely be considered:

  • Child’s preference – it may vary from state to state, but courts sometimes take into consideration the child’s preference after they are of a certain age. However, age may not always be the only basis, as maturity of the child is also considered.
  • Change of address – if the custodial parent changes residence (such as moving to another state), it may hinder the visitation rights of the other parent. The noncustodial parent can then legally apply for guardianship of the child.
  • Parent’s agreements – parent’s agreements can have a huge impact on how child custody shall be granted. Provided it does not go against the best interest of the child, these agreements can have a say on how visitation, child support, and even change of custody.

Child custody decisions can be one of the most emotional parts of having a divorce. However, it is an issue that must be settled. Thus, understanding how courts will make this decision, should your custody agreement need to be taken to court, is important to successfully completing the process. An attorney’s knowledge on these matters can help you demonstrate what you need to in order to achieve the outcome you’re hoping for.

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