How Are Child Custody Decisions Made?

Determining child custody is one of the toughest decisions people will have to make during their divorces. For all custody cases, the best interests of the children at the center of the case will factor heavily, as illustrated by The Spruce. While parents may differ on how exactly custody should be handled, courts usually consider the following when making a decision.

While it’s best to come to an agreement on your own regarding custody, for many parents this is not possible. As a result the courts will step in, and in most cases they prefer that both parents play an equal role in the lives of their children. If you have real reasons why your spouse should not play a role (such as abuse or neglect), they must be presented to the court. If you’re simply unhappy with your ex because of transgressions that occurred during your marriage, these are usually not enough to warrant sole custody.

You also want to steer clear of coming across as uncooperative to the court. For instance, if you withhold visitation from your ex, if you refuse to pay child support, or prohibit contact, the court is bound to find you at fault. In fact, you may even face serious legal action for failure to obey a court order. If you have a legitimate problem, it’s best to take it up with your lawyer (who will use proper legal channels to address it).

If you’re concerned about divergent parenting styles and the impact they might have on your kids, remember that most judges are not concerned about these matters. This is something that you will most likely need to work out with your ex, as they are not considered vital to the health and well-being of your kids. Remember that divorce involves a great deal of compromise, and both you and your children will be best-served by a flexible approach. 

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