Child Custody litigations and negotiations can get stressful and become tense. Most parties would prefer to keep it in negotiation stages, not involving the courts save for where it is required. However, when two parties cannot come to an agreement on custody of the child or children involved, it must evolve into litigation. Many counties (check the laws of your county) require mediation via a court-appointed facilitator before litigation. In cases where mediation is not sufficient, the courts are given the position to decide which parent should have custody, what type of custody should be held, what amount of support should be due and the amount of visitation allowed to the secondary parent. It may seem that mediation may be messy, but rarely can a court know enough about all parties involved to come to a decision that satisfies both sides.
Despite popular belief, the courts do not assume legal custody to either the mother or father, the only factor is which is in the best interests of the child(ren). That being said, a judge may consider a multitude of factors in determining the results of custody litigations. For example, a judge may take into consideration the psychological, physical and emotional ability of each party to care for the child(ren), which one cared for child(ren) during the marriage, and the child’s age; just to name a few.
Parties may sign an agreement to the terms of child custody, or it can be court ordered. Custody stipulations must be in written form or court ordered for validity. If allowed to form an agreement outside of court, it is also important to have a qualified attorney write and examine the agreement, for the protection of the custody rights of each party.
(Articles on this blog are provided for informational purposes only. Use of this blog does not provide or replace individualized legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, please speak with one of our attorneys, who can offer legal advice specific to your circumstances.)