Child Custody and Living Arrangements: Three Things to Consider
When a divorce affects young children, their subsequent living arrangements hinge on a few significant factors. It is important to be aware of these as divorce proceedings begin.
Divorce is almost always a contentious process. In it, you are fighting against the one that you once loved, or perhaps even continue to love. You will have to go into the details of your relationship to prove certain points; and you will have to share them with others, strangers at that!
The whole separation is stressful, not only to the couple, but also to their children. Seeing their family crumbling is surely not the most pleasant experience. As is the case most of the time, kids love both parents and it pains them that in one way or another they will have to take sides.
Many divorce lawyers say that they approach each case with the intent to put the rights and welfare of the children first. Given this, it’s logical to assume that it’s going to be easy to reach a resolution as far as the kids are concerned. But this is not always the case. In this article, we present three of the most important factors that inform the court’s decision regarding child custody disputes.
Many divorce lawyers say that they approach each case with the intent to put the rights and welfare of the children first.
Financial stability of parents
Among the most basic things that the courts look at is the financial capability of the parents. The rule of thumb is to award custody to the one that has material resources. And this makes sense since the kids need money for school, healthcare, and other basic needs. To prove their points, both parents may have to submit documents that state that they have a home to live in and a job that pays an income.
It is easy to decide on this if the disparity is significant. But if both parents are of more or less the same financial standing, the battle can become a little heated. It becomes even more so if neither is willing to compromise. In such cases, the courts will have to look at other factors.
Amicability of the couple
The living arrangement of the kids will be determined in detail by the court. The rendered decision may cover important aspects such as in whose house the kids are going to live and how support from the other parent will be paid. Many decisions also determine visiting schedules.
A good child custody lawyer should know that money and other material things are not the only things that are important. Above all else, kids need a safe environment that is free from emotional stressors. Interactions between ex-partners who separated on bitter terms can bring undue stress on the kids. A good lawyer can ask the court to limit the need for in-person interactions (e.g. support payments must be made via online transfers, etc.) or in extreme cases deny visitation rights altogether.
However, such points are a bit challenging to establish. This is really where an experienced lawyer can have great contributions.
Besides putting the ex-partners in scrutiny, most states, Pennsylvania included, allow the courts to consider child preference in making custody decisions. The kids, after all, have the right to express their opinions and actually be heard. But how much weight the court puts in the children’s preferences differs from court to court. For sure, the court will not award custody to a financially incapable parent even if the child wants it.
Child custody battles are among the most contentious and most detailed aspects of the divorce process. Good child custody lawyers must know what factors matter in the decision-making process so that they reach a resolution without complicating an already stressful situation.