Family Law and Child Custody

The bold statement saying that “50% of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce” has had many people concerned. Did you know that approximately 67% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages end in divorce? It’s scary and an altogether crushing fact to face. However, it also leaves many families and couples looking for answers and professional legal help. Although divorce rates are lower for couples with children, the process of separating is much more serious.

The first and main concern of family law is what will happen with the kids. Child custody is left in the hands of a judge if an agreement with the parents cannot be made. Should the decision be left up to the judge, there is a lot of work to be done by the parents. Each will have to state their case for deserving custody. A judge will make this decision based on facts and what the best interest is for the minor child. Parents are reminded that attacking each other in court and only providing negative “facts” about each other is not something that will win a case. The judge is looking for things like school attendance and performance and witnesses that can describe their relationship with the child or children. They will be looking for mental and financial stability along with the amount of time the parent has to spend and nurture the minors. What is the parent’s relationship like with other adults? Are they able to take care of the children for extended periods of time? Rarely do they call a minor to the stand, but if they are age appropriate and both attorneys and circumstances approve, then they may be allowed to have their opinion included in the judge’s decision. These are just a few examples of what is considered in determining child custody.

There are two types of custody: physical and legal. If a parent has legal custody then they have full decision making rights. They are in charge of making all the major decisions. Physical custody is where the children are primarily living at that parent’s home, but both parties must agree on major life decisions regarded the minor.

Divorce can have a huge effect on the children. Many times they are too young to understand. It is important that everything is brought to the table when deciding custody. This decision is absolutely made in the best interest of the child and anything that proves that should be considered in court.