Law

What You Need to Know About Child Custody

A divorce case requires the couple to arrive at an agreement and sign the documents in the allotted amount of time. A common factor that many couples cannot agree on is child custody arrangements. If they cannot reach an agreement, the court could set up a child custody hearing.

You Are Not Guaranteed Custody.

Unless the parents reach an agreement for child custody in their divorce agreement, the court will schedule a separate child custody hearing to determine what parent gets the child. During a child custody hearing, guardian ad litem is assigned to the child to allow them to state where they want to live. If the child is at least 12 years of age, they have the legal right to specify where they want to live. If the court must schedule a custody hearing, neither parent is guaranteed child custody. It is up to the court.

It Is Better If You Reach an Agreement with Your Spouse

It is always helpful if the couple can reach an agreement for child custody on their own. If they live in the same area, it is easier for them to share custody, and the child could alternate weeks living with each parent. If they can reach an agreement, not only will they save on legal fees, but the parents can make their own decisions about their child. They could also settle their divorce faster if they can come to an agreement on all aspects of their divorce.

You Need a Structured Parenting Plan

The court must approve the parenting plan set up by the couple. For example, they must choose between sole or joint custody. The court will review the agreement and ensure that the child has a stable home life, and they are not subjected to abuse or inhumane treatment. It is more suitable for a parent to get primary custody in the court proceedings as it defines where the child will live for the majority of the time. Child custody requires the parents to put the child’s interests ahead of their own.

Some Jurisdictions Require Parenting Classes

Some jurisdictions may require the parents to attend a parenting class that shows them how to help their child through the divorce. The parenting class helps the parents discuss matters pertaining to the child without hostility and arguments in front of the child. The class can help them create a healthier environment for the child.

Evaluating the Parents Before the Hearing

The court may assign a caseworker to the case who visits both parents and evaluates their living environment. The judge will make a well-informed decision when rendering a child custody hearing when the parents cannot come to an agreement on their own.

Divorce cases require the spouses to reach an agreement about who gets their assets, child custody, and if either parent gets spousal support. These determinations can be managed by the spouses if they can arrive at an agreement. If they can’t the court could intervene and render a decision for them. Divorce petitioners can get help with their case by contacting an attorney now.

About the author

Paul Petersen