Child Custody: How much do You Want to be Your Child’s Custodian?

Child custody is one of the issues that lengthen a divorce process. In many divorce cases, both parents do not want to be separated from their child. Long before, child custody was awarded solely to the mother, due to the observance of a practice called “maternal preference.” This preference was based on the presumption that mother were better equipped with the love and concern necessary in raising children.

Today, many courts consider awarding custody of a child to both parents, especially if this will be in the child’s best interest. This joint custody is most probably the decision a court would arrive at, unless one parent is deemed and proven unfit by the court. Being judged as an unfit parent can be due to many different reasons, such as a parent: being abusive to his/her child; a bad influence to the child (can be due to use and dependence to illegal drugs and/or alcohol); exposing the child or allowing the child to be exposed to pornographic elements; using excessive forms of disciplinary acts; or was charged or convicted of a crime.

Two other important factors considered by the court when deciding who gets child custody are parent’s involvement in the child’s activities and the environment where the parent resides. Spending time with the child and being there when he/she needs the parent most, like in school plays, school meetings and other activities are greatly considered and appreciated by the court.

If the environment can put the child’s health at risk, though, or compromise his/her safety, maybe due to the regularity of crimes in the neighborhood or open use of illegal drugs, then these may affect the court’s decision.

The ill behavior of a new partner, which may have an unfavorable effect on the child, can also keep the court from deciding in favor of one parent. Many other things are considered by the court, including the possible custodian’s health, age and financial opportunities. Some parents look for really good lawyers who can strongly defend their interests and fight for their right in court in order to have the advantage of winning custody of their child.

As explained in the website of the law firm Marshall & Taylor, PLLC, “A court will never side with the parent who violates the terms of the child custody agreement specified in the court agreement. Even if the parent has noble reasons for doing so, in the eyes of the law he or she will always be wrong. In addition to that, if the ex-couple agrees to an amendment of the terms of the child custody agreement, this amendment should be formalized in written form before being acted on. Otherwise, the resulting action will always be a violation.”

A divorce process is not only emotionally draining and painful, but complex as well. Having an experienced lawyer guiding you through its whole process may help you see to it that your rights and interests are recognized and respected.