• Sole Custody
  • Joint Custody
  • Legal Custody
  • Child Support
Avoid These Child Custody Mistakes and More, Today!
child custody

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Everyone knows the greatest gift you can give your children during this time of turpitude is your mindful awareness of how they’re feeling. Remember that above all else, children faced with the issue of divorce need to know they are loved and safe, by both parties involved.

Neither parent wants their children to suffer due to their predicament. It’s imperative when it comes to the sensitive issue of child custody that the children’s emotional well being is the first priority, no matter what personal feelings may be involved towards your soon to be ex.

Parenting Plans for Custody

Child custody, sometimes called, a parenting plan, outlines how parents will continue to provide and care for their children after the initial separation. Most courts require that an attempt be made by the parents to work out child custody before a case is heard. If there is an impasse, the judge will order the conditions.

Judges don’t always know the details involving the parents and children’s needs, that’s why it’s better to work out a plan with your ex rather than relying on a judge if at all possible.

The most effective plan is to have a personalized idea that will fit the needs of your family situation. The more detailed the better. It should specify every aspect of the child custody arrangement including finances, parents scheduled dates with the children, child care, and communication methods.

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The Family Court and Child Custody Plans

The plan should list who has legal custody and the authority to make decisions regarding the children. Joint legal custody means that both parents share decision making about the welfare, health, and safety of the children. Joint legal custody is the common default unless the other parent has been deemed incompetent for reasons such as drug use, domestic violence, mental illness, or child neglect. When parents utilize joint custody, it’s required both parties are in an agreement in making decisions on all matters pertaining to the children.

Physical custody is different from legal custody and refers to which parent the child will be primarily living with. Even if parents share joint legal custody, one parent may have sole physical custody, meaning the child(ren) will spend a majority of their time with that parent  within their physical residence.The other parent would be given “visitation” of the child(ren). This would be an unequal share of time with the children. Today, courts typically try to maintain the 50/50 relationship between both parents for the children, unless one parent has been deemed incompetent.

Factors to Consider During Child Custody

There are numerous other factors that need to be considered when anticipating child custody arrangements.

Keep in mind that the agreed upon plan between parents needs to comply with the state custody guidelines and laws for the court to accept it. This may differ from state to state. The child’s age impacts what may or may not be deemed appropriate.When the parents live in different states, it’s important to know one state will have jurisdiction over the child custody, and the laws must be followed for that  specific state.

It is acceptable to make a temporary child custody plan when a separation first occurs until a permanent one can be agreed upon by both parents. As children get older and situations change, it’s always possible to have the child custody modified to fit the changing needs.

Too often, custody is used for financial means like child support.

Child Custody Modification

To modify the  custody through the court, a child custody modification or a petition to change the custody order needs to be presented to the court. Both parents will then attend a custody hearing and present their cases to the judge. The judge will then decide if the modified plan is accepted by the court.