If you are planning on divorcing or separating from a domestic partner and if children are involved then you’ll most likely need to establish plans on child custody and visitation issues established and resolved them. Child custody and visitation can be decided by agreement between the divorcing couple. This usually involves attorneys or mediators – and maybe even a court.
Decisions for custody and visitation are often resolved in one or two ways when going through a divorce or separation:
- The parents reach an agreement on custody and visitation through informal settlement negotiations that can involve attorneys or mediators.
- The court can decide on custody and visitation from a family court judge.
Both legal parents have the right to a part of their child’s life. These types of rights include making parenting decisions for important issues like education, health care, and religion. If parents can come to a mutual agreement on child custody and visitation arrangement out of court, this is the best possible solution. It will prevent stressful situations that could deeply impact a child. It also allows for parents to work out an agreement that will work the best for them without depending on a judge to come up with an agreement that might not be favorable for both parents.
Usually, a family law judge prefers to give both parents shared custody, but in some cases, the primary custody could be given to one parent and giving the other parent visitation rights. There are a few factors involved when making child custody decisions. Some of those factors include:
- Stability of the child’s home life, education, and community life
- Availability of extended family
- Any history of abuse
- Child’s preference
- The child’s physical, emotional, developmental, educational, and special needs.
The court will do its best to decide on behalf of the child’s best interest and what will best serve the child. It can be very difficult going through a child custody battle and if you are going through one, seeking out the help of a professional can be a strong resource. You will want to understand the laws and how decisions about your child will be made. Child custody laws vary from state to state, so seeking out a professional in your state will give you the resources you need to better explain the laws.