Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Who Decides Child Custody Arrangements During Divorce?

January 27, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Opinion, Relationships, Weekly Columns

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( No matter what your reasons are for divorcing, the process is emotional and often troubling. The emotions are even greater if there are children involved and you also have to negotiate child custody arrangements. Many couples have a hard time imagining sharing custody of their children and missing spending time with them. That is, unfortunately, a reality that comes with divorce.

One of the primary concerns that many couples have is who decides child custody arrangements. Is it one spouse or the other? Do both spouses have to agree? Who settles disputes? Put together by a DC child custody lawyer, below is some helpful information that may answer these questions and show you why it is important to work with a child custody lawyer.

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Who Decides Child Custody and Visitation?

Most couples who have children and decide to divorce begin the process with the idea that they will agree to child custody and visitation terms without legal input. This rarely happens, however. In most cases, parents have a hard time agreeing on how much time they or the other parent should spend with the child or children. Many parents also have concerns about safety, school, finances, new significant others, etc.

When parents cannot agree on child custody and visitation terms, it is important to involve a child custody lawyer. A lawyer can help negotiate and address concerns. Child custody lawyers are often successful at working with parents to identify their goals and any special concerns or considerations, and deciding on a custody and visitation plan that works.

How Can Parents Reach an Agreement?

Parents who have a good relationship can successfully create a co-parenting, child custody, and/or visitation agreement without involving the court. Most courts favor agreements that are made between parents who demonstrate a good co-parenting relationship and a focus on what is best for the child or children involved.

Generally, you want to have a child custody lawyer review your custody or visitation agreement before filing your divorce papers so you can be sure that everything is legal and binding. A lawyer can also help you formalize your agreement.

What if Parents Cannot Reach an Agreement?

If parents are ultimately not able to reach an agreement, even with the help of a child custody lawyer, then custody and visitation may be taken before a Judge to decide. The court considers various factors when deciding child custody and visitation, such as:

  • The child’s age
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • Mental and physical health of everyone involved
  • Parental employment and related demands
  • Potential disruptions to the child’s school life
  • Each parent’s ability to financially support the child

These are just a few of the considerations listed based on state laws. The elements that factor into the court’s decision may vary depending on state laws and other considerations.

If it looks like your child custody case will go to court because you cannot agree, you and your ex-spouse should work with a child custody lawyer. Ultimately, the best interests of your child or children is the most important factor. However, you each have lives and individual needs and concerns that should be addressed before a decision is made.

Why Work with a Child Custody Lawyer

As mentioned throughout this article, a child custody lawyer is an asset if you and your ex-spouse cannot agree to custody or visitation terms. In reality, a lawyer is an asset no matter how well you work together and how amicable your agreement is. The reason is that every divorce and child custody case is unique. These cases are best handled by a child custody lawyer who is familiar with your situation and your goals as parents and individuals. When you leave child custody and visitation up to the court, you could find yourself in a situation you never thought possible.

Staff Writer; George Moore

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