Child Custody

Child custody is decision-making for the minor child as well as day-to-day operations of the minor child which will include decisions concerning health, education, religion and extracurricular activities. Child custody is one of the most hotly contested issues you will find in a divorce case.

There are several forms of custody. The most common form of custody is joint custody. In a joint custody situation, both parties share equally in the decision-making concerning health, education and religion of the child. The parties must consult with one another in a joint custody arrangement to determine what is in the best interest of the child. If the parties cannot agree, then the issue has to be sent to mediation before it can be brought back before the court. If one party has sole custody, then that party has the exclusive decision-making concerning the day to day operations of the child as well as decisions concerning education, religion, health and extracurricular activities.

Many men think that they are entitled to custody of the minor child. In actuality, women overwhelmingly earn custody of the minor child or at the least; they earned joint custody of the minor child. The standard that the court uses to determine who should be the custodial parent is the best interest of the child standard. The court is going to look at all the circumstances, the court is going to look at the parties, and the court is going to look at the child and what the best interest of the child is.

In many cases, the woman is going to be the custodial parent based on the fact that the court does not want to upset the mother/child bond as well as the fact that in the overwhelming majority of cases, the mother is a fit and proper person to have custody of the minor child. In some cases, joint custody could be awarded whereby both parties share in decision-making for the minor child. However, if the parties cannot stipulate or agree to joint custody, then the court is going to have to render a decision.

The decision that the court makes in a custody battle is long and drawn out. There are experts involved in a custody battle. There are guardians ad litem, appointed on behalf of the child. There may be a child’s wrap appointed by the court. There are 604B evaluations and experts that are going to voice their opinion on what they feel is the best interest of the child and who should have custody of the child.

If you can avoid a custody battle, by all means do it. Custody battles are expensive. Custody battles are taxing emotionally as well as financially. If you can work an arrangement with your spouse or significant other regarding custody, you are best served to do that. Just think about your child. Think about what you are putting your child through when you have a custody battle. Think about the harm that is done to the child when the court is making a decision on what the best interests of that child is. Think about what happens to the child when one spouse is playing against the other spouse and making derogatory statements against the other spouse. Think about how much better off your child would be if the two of you can sit down together and work out either a joint custody arrangement for decision-making or a pseudo-joint custody arrangement whereby one party has custody but the other party has almost the same rights as the custodial party in terms of health, education, religion and extracurricular activities of the child. Do yourself a favor and try with all you have got to make a custody arrangement by agreement.