Divorce Custody Issues

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A legal procedure is followed by a couple when they want to dissolute their marriage. It has many aspects such as monitory support, property division and child related matters. A vital aspect of this proceeding is divorce custody issues. When a child is involved in the conflicts of the couple, it becomes difficult to reach a final conclusion. Parents are given an opportunity to accede the terms of this matter. But, if they fail to submit an agreement, the court handle these disputes, according to rules mentioned in family laws.

The court may order temporary orders when a divorce petition is filed. These orders remain valid till the result is issued. Meanwhile, the court holds trials to sort the matter. This includes representation of a case, testimonies of parents, evaluation reports, etc. During the discussion about child custody, following things are considered -

  • Life insurance
  • Mental health care
  • Dental and medical insurance
  • Education and college expenditure
  • Visitation schedule (holidays, summers, midweek visits, overnights, special events)
  • Religious training
  • Regular care - instructions regarding pick up and drop off
  • Tax deductions
  • Access to the records
  • Transportation
  • If parents reside far from each other, how will a child travel?
  • Activities of the school
  • Child's contact with extended family: it includes the new spouses or the family of each partner.
  • Parenting education

Divorce Custody Issues regarding Type of Custody

According to the above mentioned factors, a parenting plan is drafted. There are mainly two choices available with the court. It can award either a joint guardianship or sole responsibility to only one partner. Otherwise, the parenting plan can consist of a combination of these two. Following are two popular terms related with this child guardianship-

Physical Custody

  • The child resides and spends his/her time with the parent who has been awarded physical guardianship.
  • This parent is in charge of the activities of the child.
  • The court might grant physical responsibility solely to one parent and approve or deny visitation rights to the non custodial parent.
  • Sometimes the legal rights are shared between the parents.
Legal Custody
  • The parent, who has been granted legal rights on the kid, has the responsibility and right to make major decisions that impact the life of the child.
  • Decisions are taken pertaining the following points -
    • Religion
    • Emergency care
    • Health care
    • Day care
    • Extracurricular activities
    • Education
Thus, the court decides on guardianship after taking account all relevant factors. It divides the legal rights and physical guardianship between parents according to their conditions.

Divorce Custody Issues regarding Child Support

Let us assume that one of the parents has been awarded sole or primary guardianship. In this scenario, the other parent might be ordered to disburse monitory support. The amount of it, is dependent on several factors like the following -

  • The actual or potential earning capacity of each parent
  • The number of siblings, if any.
  • Tax filing status
  • Expenditures pertaining to the educational needs
Another situation is when joint custody is awarded. Then, the court considers whether support payments are required and accordingly issues orders of support. In any case, a court order for child support has to be followed by a person compulsorily. Any failure in this matter will be taken as contempt of the court.

The Best Interests of the Child

Each state in the United States tries to protect the best interests of the child while issuing orders. For this to happen, it takes into account several conditions. Every state has prepared its own list of vital points in case of divorce. Some of the common factors are as follows:

  • The stability, physical state and mental health of all the persons related to the case.
  • The adjustment of the kids in the community, at school and in the house.
  • The interaction with his/her siblings as well as both the parents.
  • The desires of the child (usually, the court determines whether he or she is sufficiently mature and capable of making a preference).
  • The desires of the parents (while considering these, it is assumed that the parents are fit).
Sometimes, the court appoints a GAL (Guardian ad Litem). The duty of the GAL is to investigate the situation of the family and on the basis of this, make recommendations to the court. Then the court will take an appropriate decision to resolve the custody issues.

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