Almost any issue that promises to intersect with a minor-aged child during divorce can be tricky and great care is needed. Even more than marital property or child support, child custody can be the one issue that parents are unable to agree on without help from a judge. The problems can begin as early as the separation period. Parents who cannot cope with the details of a custody situation may turn to the courts before the divorce decree is final. Read on to find out more about dealing with child custody during separation.
Important and Contentious
Children present an emotional facet of divorce that can strike at the very heart of a parent-and-child relationship. The family court system acknowledges this and has guidelines in place that use the best interest of the child as the leading waypoint. That means that what the parents want and need in a separation and divorce situation pales in comparison to protecting the best interests of the minor child. While this can seem comforting to a parent concerned about their child's well-being, it can catch some parents off-guard when it's time to seek custody.
Temporary Custody Orders
Just because the above phrase contains the word "temporary" should be no indication of the importance of this issue to the family court system. When temporary orders that address custody are handed down by the courts, they may end up being not so temporary at all. The reason temporary orders may be more important than parents realize has to do with the best interest of the child. The family court judge may be extremely reluctant to change the custody arrangement already in place during separation when it comes time to create the final decree. Changing custody arrangements can create an atmosphere of instability. For the parent, that means that the custody arrangements made during the separation may be folded into the final decree, so use care when making and agreeing to the plan.
When parents cannot agree, a custody hearing is held. In some cases, the judge may ask that a child study or custody evaluation is held to provide more psychological insight into the best parent to hold custody. This involves an expert interviewing the parents and the child to get an idea of the family dynamic. If things remain unsettled, the judge may hear from witnesses who provide their opinions on the fitness of a parent. Some of these witnesses may be friends and family or they may be pediatricians or school personnel. With temporary custody, however, courtroom dramas with witnesses are usually kept to a minimum. The judge may be prone to order shared or 50/50 parenting if both parents seem fit.
This is an important issue even if it's only temporary orders. Speak to a child custody lawyer like Dawn M Ogrodny PC to find out more.
Going through a divorce? I know how you might feel – alone, stressed out, and probably even a little sad due to the loss of the life you have always known. Whether you have children or not, you might even feel a little guilty about the break down of your relationship. But I'm here to tell you that a divorce is not the end of the world. In fact, once you get used to the idea and start to move on with your life, you may find just as much, if not more, happiness than you ever had while you were married! Getting through the proceedings of your divorce in a dignified manner is the first step, and hopefully this website will give you the insight, support, and motivation you need to get through the process as painlessly as possible.