While a divorce can be difficult, dealing with child custody is usually even harder. In any case where the custody of your children in an issue, we know that you are wondering quite a bit about the future. Will the child live with you primarily, or your ex? If they live with your ex, will you be able to make some important decisions about how they will be raised? When faced with these questions, you might feel uneasy and worried. This is totally normal. That’s why you need to contact a family law and divorce lawyer. Today, we would like to share how most custody decisions are made.

Divorce and Child Custody

For couples considering a divorce or already going through that process, child custody and visitation issues are on the table. Generally, when it comes to property division, child support, alimony, and other related issues, child custody and visitation is hopefully decided on by the couple. If not, the court can help make a decision. These decisions are usually resolved in one of two main ways during divorces:

  • Parents agree to some sort of arrangement, either through an informal settlement with attorney help or an out-of-court alternative, such as mediation or collaborative law.
  • Courts decide on custody and visitation rights.

There are quite a few factors that go into this decision for the courts, so make sure to talk about everything with your lawyer. They can tell you what to expect when you go to court. Regardless of the outcome, you can always appeal the decision if it isn’t what you hoped for. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible is the best way to start the path towards a desirable outcome.

Unmarried Parents and Child Custody

If you and your ex are not married, most states do require that the mother be awarded physical custody unless the father takes action to try to get custody. Unwed fathers usually have a hard time winning custody over a mother when that mother has been shown to be a good parent. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t be awarded some type of custody and visitation agreement.

Unmarried parents usually go through the same process as divorcing couples, including an agreement reached by the parents or the court. However, unlike divorcing couples, there is no need to worry about divorce issues, including property division and spousal support. This makes the custody decision often a lot simpler.

Non-Parental Child Custody Decisions

Sometimes, people other than the child’s parents want to get custody of the child. This includes family members and sometimes close family friends. Each state has a very specific way of handling these custody cases, and that begins with a nonparental custody petition being filed to the court. This lays out the person’s relationship to the child, the status of the child’s parents (deceased, whereabouts unknown, etc), and why this person is seeking custody. If the parents are living and they have been located, this petition is usually given to the parents as well. We will cover issues of guardianship more in some of our future blog posts.

Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith

If you are going through a divorce or a breakup with children involved, you have enough on your plate. Allow our team of attorneys to handle your case and help you as you seek custody of your children. We would be happy to answer any of your questions during your consultation with us. You can tell us more about your situation, and we can let you know what the first steps will be. Reach out now to schedule your consultation and work with us!