The world of child custody can be very daunting and actually very mind boggling for most parents. Add to that the stress and depression of not having your kids with you or going through a divorce and we are talking meltdown for a lot of people. If you are in a custody battle for your kids then having answers to your child custody questions is a critical first step if are to succeed.
In this article I’m going to go over answers to some of the most common child custody questions from parents like you.
A common mistake parents make is rushing out and hiring the first lawyer they find an relying on their expertise completely to win their custody battle. Unfortunately even attorneys don’t have all the answers to child custody questions or they are not up to date with the most current strategies. That is why your first step to winning custody of your kids should be research. With the age of the internet, research is a whole lot easier than it was in the past.
I’ve put together some of the most common child custody questions:
1. What are the different types of child custody
Joint Legal Custody – Both parents are entitled to make major decisions about their children’s lives (health, education, etc. )#)
Sole Legal Custody – One parent alone has complete legal authority to make major decisions for their children.
Sole Physical Custody – Is when the child lives with one parent on a regular basis with the other parent having visitation rights.
Joint Physical Custody – Is when the child lives with each parent for a substantial part of the year (not necessarily 50/50).
2. What standards do the courts take into account when determining custody? The overwhelming principle is the “best interest of the child”
3. How does the court decide the “best interest of the child? ” Depending on your child’s age, the primary factors of determining the best interest of the child are
The child’s interactions and quality of relationship with his or her parents.
The child’s involvement in his or her school and neighborhood and whether placement with either parent would disruptive.
The health (mental and physical) of the parents.
The parent that is more likely to encourage and facilitate custody visitation rights of the other parent. (This is a big one)
The residence location of either parent in relation to the child’s existing city or state and/or if one parent is planning to move too far away.
Whether or not either parent has made process of making child support payments difficult.
The wishes of the child (depending on age) but this will not hold a lot of weight unless the child is older.
4. Do children get to choose which household to live in? Basically, No. Judges will definitely consider their wishes depending on age but will not base custody solely on a child’s preference.
5. Can my child be used as a witness in court? Yes they can. Most states give some consideration to the child’s wishes.
6. Is the mother more likely to get custody? Yes, even in today’s society. There are many exceptions though and fathers are gaining more custody rights as time goes on.
7. If joint physical custody is awarded, does that mean no one pays child support? Absolutely not. Child support is determined separately from custody arrangements and is based on levels of income.
8. If my spouse is behind on child support can i restrict visitations? Definitely not. Visitation rights and child support are treated separately. You still must honor the visitation agreement and then pursue child support separately.
9. Can i stop paying child support if my spouse won t let me see my kids? No. You must still pay child support and pursue a contempt violation of the custody agreement separately.
10. What is the purpose of a custody evaluation? The primary function of a custody evaluation is to assist the court in determining what arrangements will meet the best interests of the child. They consider family and individual factors that may affect the physical and psychological interests of the child.
11. What if my ex has sole physical custody and wants to move out of state with the kids? A custodial parent must petition the court to change the custody order and ask for permission to leave the state with the child.
One of the keys to winning custody of your children is being prepared and organized. Don’t leave everything up to your attorney. By doing your own research and being a partner with your attorney, you can significantly increase your chances of winning custody of your children.