Divorce is becoming more prevalent in the United States. Often those involved in a divorce are trying to determine the best way to divide assets, a process that can be costly, lengthy and emotionally draining.
Despite the focus on property division, many couples must also deal with the affect their divorce will have on their children. Children are often psychologically affected by a divorce, dealing with parents who have grown apart or even parents who hate each other, and then adjusting to shared parenting time. Determining who is granted custody of the child can become a heated dispute in divorce proceedings.
In the past, mothers had been given greater preference over who is granted primary physical custody of the child. This was due to a belief that mothers have a stronger bond with their child than the father and it was in their best interests to stay with the mother. However the courts have shifted their focus to a more case-by-case basis.
The best interests of the child in most cases results in some sort of joint custody arrangement. This is often done by splitting physical and legal custody between the parents to avoid major disruption in the child’s life. Being granted physical custody allows parents to care for the child on a daily basis, where legal custody gives parents the ability to make decisions about big decisions that affect the child, such as education and insurance.
Because custody arrangements no longer give preference immediately to the mother, fathers have a fair opportunity to show the judge that they rightly deserve to remain in their child’s life. Ultimately, the smoother the transition from marriage to divorce is for a family, the easier it will be for a child to adjust.
Source: napavalleyregister.com, “Family Law – Part 2 – issues faced when marriage is over,” 12 October 2010