Divorce Child Custody

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Divorce is a process that mainly occurs to legally terminate a marriage. This legal process not only separates two spouses but also disintegrates the family. Various other joint issues are also meant to be settled before declaration of a final decree. There are some general matters that are included in almost every dissolution case. These issues relate to guardianship of child or support, property and debt distribution, fixation of alimony amount, visitation schedule and likewise. However, child related issues are considered to be the most critical issues that are handled during any legal process. The court finds it complex and time consuming to issue a marital termination decree, when the couples are in conflict. The judges frequently order a third-party evaluation. This is performed by an expert in the field of mental health, psychology and psychiatry. This expert generally estimates the following -

  • Parenting skills
  • The life at home
  • Activities of each parent
  • The feelings and preferences of the child
  • Relationship between the family members

Most importantly, the personal interest of the kids is of major consideration for the state court. The expert then forwards his/her recommendations and these can be used as a basis for a parental agreement.

Multi state family issues are handled as per the UCCJA and UCCJEA.

UCCJA - Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Act
UCCJEA - Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

Types of Divorce Child Custody

Sole Legal Custody of Children

  • One parent is given the right to make all major decisions pertaining to the child.
  • This parent need not procure consent or agreement from the other parent regarding any decision.

Sole Physical Custody

  • The kid is ordered to stay with one parent for a major part of the year. This parent is called as the "custodial parent".
  • The kids visit the other parent for a brief period as per a plan. This system is called "visitation". The visitation schedule is usually decided during legal procedures that happen during the divorce process.
  • Till date, it is observed that the courts award this type more frequently to mothers rather than fathers. However, there are very few cases where father is ordered with custodial responsibilities. Such condition only occurs where the father is able to present relevant evidences that can prove careless and inappropriate behavior of the mother, which is not appropriate for the child's upbringing.

Sole Custody

  • This type implies that both physical and legal responsibility is ordered to one specific parent. So, it would be the responsibility of only one partner to raise the kids and provide them with a secure and developing atmosphere.

Joint Legal Custody

  • Both the parents are permitted to take all essential decisions related to the child's normal life, such as, health care and educational decisions, etc.
  • This is the most common type that is ordered in most of divorce cases.

Joint Physical Child Custody

  • The offspring resides and spends considerable time with both the father and the mother.
  • This term does not essentially mean 50 percent time with each parent.
  • This type results in several benefits for the small ones in the family as they do not really need to change their residence with any specific parent.

Joint Responsibility

  • Both the parents attain the responsibilities associated with both; joint legal guardianship and physical parenting plan as well.

Primary Physical Guardianship

  • One parent has more than 50 percent of the time to spend with kids. This time can be calculated on the basis of the actual spare time and holidays of the family.

Impact of Adultery on Divorce Child Custody

Although, adultery does not have a direct effect on this crucial decision, it plays an indirect role. Every court in the United States aims at the best interests of the child while finalizing the dissolution arrangement. The court takes into account the surroundings and obviously the family life. As a consequence, the following are taken into account -

  • The relationship of the family with the person, with whom the parent was practicing adultery.
  • How this relationship is affecting the kids?

This issue is one of the most prominent parts of a court case, as it might affect the child's upbringing. There are various criteria that are to be considered before ordering the responsibility to the single parent or both the parents. Therefore, the court essentially orders for a definite evaluation and analysis of circumstances between the spouses and the small ones. Accordingly, a suitable type is assigned to the parties as described above. Regarding each unique case, the impact of adultery would vary.

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