Facing Child Custody Issues – 3 Important Concepts to Help You Take Your First Step Forward.
Are you facing child custody issues right now? Do you need to initiate some kind of action very quickly but don’t know how or where to start? You are not alone. The laws concerning child custody vary depending on the state you live in. It is of utmost importance that you familiarize yourself with those laws and, if necessary, find a lawyer to represent you who fully understands your situation.
The lawyers at www.lawgena.com will take time to understand your custody situation and give you the help you need.
There are three very important concepts that you must grasp before you go any further. These include an overview of what the term “custody” means, how custody and visitation arrangements are made and what to do if these arrangements are not working and need to be changed. These will give you an initial understanding of what can be involved in child custody issues so that you may take your first step forward on a course of action.
What is Child Custody?
When parents separate, whether legally married or not, the question arises as to what will happen to the child or children resulting from that relationship. How will their immediate and future needs be met, not only physically, but psychologically, emotionally, mentally and financially as well. Of utmost importance is the question of where the children will actually reside. Will they live with one parent exclusively (physical custody) or spend time in each parent’s home (joint physical custody)? These are just some of the issues of child custody.
How are Child Custody Arrangements Made?
It is always beneficial to all involved when parents are able to come up with a mutually agreed-upon custody and visitation plan on their own. A judge will usually approve such a plan and a much easier transition can be made for the child or children.
Unfortunately, when parents cannot come to an agreement over the terms of a custody arrangement, the courts must take over and the parents may find themselves embroiled in a heated battle for the custody of their children. The judge may have the parents consult with a mediator or counselor to work out a plan. If there is still no agreement, the judge will hear all sides, including the opinion of the mediator and make a final decision. This will typically involve the awarding of physical custody to one parent and generous visitation to the other. In cases where there is a question of one parent’s inability to care for the child or in cases of domestic violence, visitation may be restricted.
What Happens When Custody Arrangements are not Working?
Custody arrangements, whether worked out mutually by the parents or designed by the court, can be changed if they are not working out as planned. Because issues of child custody can be very emotionally charged, one or the other parent may decide not to follow the custody or visitation plan as set up. One example may be when the custodial parent denies the other parent visitation. That parent may have to pursue a contempt order in the court and may even have grounds for custody.
When the arrangements do not work and the parents go back to court, the judge will first require the couple to meet with a mediator to help work out their issues. If this does not work and the parents cannot agree, it will be up to the judge to make the final decision. This is where the term “the best interests of the child” becomes a major factor in any further decisions by the court.
There are many concerns that a judge will take into consideration when determining custody rights in the best interests of the child. Some of these include the past and current behavior of the parents, especially in regard to abuse or neglect, who has been the main caretaker of the child in the past, the stability of the home environment each parent can offer, the amount of time each parent can give to taking care of the child, the willingness of each parent to nurture a good relationship with the other parent for the sake of the children, the age and sex of the child or children, and in some cases, depending on his or her age and mental capacity, the preferences of the child in regard to his or her own custody. If necessary, a court may depend upon a psychologist’s expert testimony when evaluating one or the other parent’s rights to custody.
When awarding child custody, judges will usually first consider the parents, either singly or together. However, if the judge believes that neither parent can provide for the best interests of the child, another person, such as a family member or close friend may be awarded custody of the child. This can be a temporary or permanent situation and can be given without either parent’s consent.
What is the Best Custody Resolution?
When 2 mature adults, who also happen to be parents, are able to put their children’s needs above their own selfish ones and work out a mutually agreeable plan of custody and visitation, everyone wins. Each parent can then go forward with their own lives while still providing the love and guidance that parents owe to their children and their children deserve.
If you are facing child custody issues, visit Here to find out what initial steps you must take.
If you are going through child custody proceedings, make sure to put your children first. Visit Here for more information and updates.