In the U.S., the states govern the law regarding child custody following the divorce of parents. For this reason, each state has its law regarding this. In most cases, the decision is made, according to the best interests of the child. In this case, mothers and fathers are required to be treated equally. Find out more at https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/child_custody.
Main Options Considered
Joint custody consists of two parts; joint legal custody – allows both parents to take part in the major decisions affecting the life of their child. It means that they have equal rights in making decisions such as the child’s education, health care, religious training, and extracurricular activities. It allows parents to come together and make joint decisions regarding important matters affecting their child.
The second part of this custody is called joint physical custody – the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
All the 50 states provide for joint custody as one of the major options in bringing up a child following a divorce. In some states, the court orders for joint custody once the parent’s divorce, unless there is evidence that it is not in the child’s best interest.
Sole custody means that one parent is more involved in making major decisions regarding the child’s life than the other. In this regard, the time allowed for the non-custodial parent include:
- During weekends (most often Friday evening to Sunday evening).
- One weeknight evening.
- Half of the major holidays.
- Some weeks during summer.
According to the U.S. law on child custody, the non-custodial parent is allowed for parenting time with his/her child unless there is evidence that he/she can cause harm to the child. Even if there is evidence of a mental problem or abuse of a child, the non-custodial parent can be allowed to have time with the child under supervision.
Factors Considered When Deciding Custody
In most cases, the parents agree on child custody. However, in cases where parents cannot make a mutual agreement, a judge must decide on child custody. The decision made in court is usually based on several factors, including;
One of the major factors considered is whether one parent has been a primary caregiver – one parent has been more responsible in catering for the child’s needs than the other. The factor becomes more significant when the child is young and still needs much attention.
Ability to Meet the Child’s Needs and Who’s Closer to The Child
The ability of the parent to meet the child’s needs is important when determining the right custodial parent for a child. How do courts determine this? Parents, friends’, neighbors’, the child’s teachers’, and the mental professionals’ testimonies are heard. From the testimonies, the court can also identify which of the parents is closer to the child.
Sometimes, the judge talks to the child away from the parents to determine whether he/she has preferences. The child will express his/her feelings about both parents. The weight given to the child’s preferences will majorly depend on the child’s age, maturity, and quality of reasons for the preferences.
Fighting for Custody
Exes do engage in battles concerning child custody after separation. What people don’t realize is that children are usually the biggest losers in such disputes. How do you avoid such fights while preserving your interest in spending quality time with your child? It can be a challenging issue to resolve. But first things first – always remember that there is no such thing as winning custody. Most states take into consideration, the child’s interests and needs when determining the right custodial parent following a divorce.
Remember, legal considerations should come into play. Rather than fighting over a child’s custody, why not present your issue to the court? Although it doesn’t guarantee that you will win the case, it is the right thing to do. If you think you should be the right custodial parent, ensure you go before the court with evidence proving why you should be the one. It is going to be a process, but it is worth it at the end of the day.
Ensure you are aware of what your child wants. Why? The courts are going to consider the opinion of the child. Read more at https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/my-ex-is-fighting-for-custody-of-the-kids-what-do-i-do-34504.
Negative Effects Of 50/50 Custody
Of course, there are many benefits of co-parenting. However, disadvantages also exist, particularly in unfavorable situations. One, 50/50 custody is disruptive for younger kids. It becomes challenging to employ joint custody when the child is very young. It disrupts the life of the child, considering the number of trips the child has to make between homes.
Also, 50/50 custody is a problem when parents live in separate states. Life becomes hard for the child in such cases. It makes your child do extra commuting for little gain. 50/50 custody may be challenging if one parent is unfit to raise a child – whether the problem is drug abuse, mental illness, prostitution, or neglect.