A Huffington Post article highlights the often contentious nature of arguments over child custody. As the article states, when children are involved, a divorce is not the end of a couple’s relationship; they will be joined through their children for the rest of their lives. A well-developed child custody plan and a well-defined child support agreement can go a long way toward keeping things civil and keeping the children out of the middle of disagreements.
Traditionally, women have been awarded primary custody. Today, a father’s rights will be taken into account, even if it requires an experienced divorce attorney to ensure that it is so. What’s critical is the delicate balance between child custody and child support. Awarding custody to a parent who simply wants to support money can be a disaster for both the child and the parents. Similarly, a newly single parent, mothers in particular, must adjust to the fact that they will likely be returning to the working world and/or working more hours than ever before.
Intellectually, parents on the cusp of single-parenthood get it. They just often fail to fully appreciate the reality. Too often, whether out of spite or a belief that they are right, we see a parent fight joint custody. After winning, they are forced to allow their spouse more visitation or hire childcare! Raising children is hard. Divorce doesn’t make it any easier.
Custody law in most, if not all states do not favor either parent. Rather, it seeks to award custody based on what’s in the best interest of the child.
A best-interest determination can be based on a number of factors, including:
- Which parent has been the main caregiver.
- A parent’s parenting skills and ability to provide.
- A parent’s mental and physical health.
- Any domestic violence history.
- Parental work schedules.
- Family relationship dynamics.
- Child’s wishes (depending on age).
- A parent’s ability to cooperate with a former spouse.
A parent’s relationship with a child is a precious gift. An experienced divorce attorney must protect that relationship while seeking to assist both parent and child in making as smooth a transition as possible.