When separating from your spouse, you must make vital decisions about your kids. One of the primary aspects you'll need to focus on is legal custody. Unfortunately, the laws and regulations on this subject can be complex and may vary depending on the state. Therefore, creating time to learn a few things about the process enables you to make informed decisions. After all, you don't want to miss spending time with your little ones by losing a custody case.
That said, you should know that the judicial system examines several issues to ensure the kid's welfare. Usually, the decisions aren't based on the parents' wishes but on what will benefit the children. Here are some things you should know.
What Does Child's Best Interest Mean?
Courts usually make all custody decisions based on the children's best interests. This means the decision will be favorable to the child regardless of what the parents think or feel about the choice. Some factors they consider before making the decision include the kid's background, age, sex, and physical and mental health. They also consider each parent's lifestyle and the level of attachment they have with the children. Keep in mind that the court won't also skimp on environmental factors. These include the level of safety in every parent's neighborhood, quality of education in the area, and nearness to extracurricular activities.
Does Any Parent Have Exclusive Custody Rights?
In most cases, parents have the same rights to the custody of their little ones. This is why parents are encouraged to make decisions concerning child custody arrangements. However, parents' decision is only enforceable when a court order approves it. So, you and your ex-spouse can enter into a custody agreement outlining the specific guidelines each parent needs to adhere to. This may include the parent who will get physical and legal custody or visitation rights. Although court approval is required, these agreements can be made outside the courtroom. In such cases, the parents often hold private meetings with their attorneys to mediate the best decision.
Can Joint Custody Work?
Sometimes, the court may award both parents custody of the kids. This means both parents will have legal and physical custody of the children. However, these arrangements can create complications later on because all parties need a lot of cooperation. As such, consider avoiding such an agreement if you think your ex-spouse cannot adhere to the arrangement.
While legal guardianship arrangements are complex, a child custody lawyer can simplify your work. They will make sure you prioritize the children over your emotions and ego. Remember that the more cooperative you are, the easier the process will be.
Consult with a custody lawyer to learn more.