Going through a divorce or a separation can be a tricky situation, especially if you have children together. Dealing with child custody can be confusing, and finding a good lawyer is imperative to your case. Before you get into the whole process, it is important you know your facts. Here are some frequently asked questions about child custody.
Q: What factors do the courts take into account when determining the outcome of the case?
A: The courts have to keep a lot of factors in mind when making their decision. They include: the age, sex, and mental well being of both the child and the parent, the financial situation of the parent and the ability to provide for the child, the parent’s lifestyle, the emotional bond between the child and the parent, where the child lives currently, and the impact on the child if the status quo is changed.
Q: Do mothers have a better chance of being awarded custody?
A: While that used to be the situation, it is no longer true. Now, the mother and the father will both be assessed on if they fit the custody arrangements as listed above. If you are a father looking to gain custody, do not let gender stereotypes hold you back.
Q: Does custody always go to one parent?
A: Not always. Courts rountinely award custody to both parents, known as ‘joint custody.’ Joint custody comes in three forms:
- Joint physical custody, when each parent gets to have legal time with their child.
- Joint legal custody, where parents share the legal making decisions, such as medical, religious, and educational factors.
- Joint legal and physical custody, a combination of both.
Q: Does a parent’s sexual orientation come into play with the custody arrangement?
A: No, in many states the court system is not allowed to factor a parent’s sexual orientation into their decision. But sometimes prejudices do happen, so finding a good attorney that will help you with this is a good idea.
Q: Who decides what amount of custody is reasonable and fair?
A: Typically when a parent is awarded physical custody to one parent, and reasonable visitation to the other, the custodial parent is able to decided the visitation guidelines. Sometimes this can cause both parents to not get along, so having a family law lawyer will help you be civil and get what you feel you deserve.