For people with children, custody matters are often the biggest dispute in their divorces. It can be challenging for parents to reach custody settlements on their own.
People may have unrealistic expectations or may want to use their children like a weapon to punish or hurt their ex. Before you file for divorce or start planning for your custody proceedings, there are certain basic things that you need to know about custody in modern divorces.
The needs of the kids guide every decision
The laws about divorce are different in every state. That means that even if you trust someone, like your sibling, their experience won’t necessarily have any bearing on your divorce. One issue that is consistent in many states is the standard or how a judge makes decisions about custody.
In Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as most other states, the issue that matters the most will be the best interests of the children involved. Judges making custody decisions have to look at the family relationships, the needs of the children, and any other important details to decide what would be best for the kids.
Shared custody has become the new normal
Judges will typically assume that having both parents involved is best unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary. Even parents with backgrounds involving addiction or abuse can request visitation in many cases.
A parent who tries to deny the other access to or communication with the children before or during a divorce could hurt their own chances of shared custody in the final order. Judges often take a dim view of those who attempt parental alienation or who unreasonably interfere in a parent-child relationship for personal and petty reasons.
Parents share more than just parenting time
The person responsible for caring for a child at any given moment is the parent who has physical custody. However, divorce proceedings can also allocate legal custody, which involves the right to make decisions.
Making sure that you seek both forms of custody or that you have evidence related to why certain terms would be best for your children will make it easier for you to secure the outcome you want in your upcoming custody case.