Divorce is always tricky, even when people approach it with the best of intentions especially when children are involved. As any custody lawyer can tell you, divorce proceedings often become more contentious when people are dealing with matters related to custody. With that in mind, let’s look into some of the things you may not know about child custody.
1. You Don’t Have to Go To Court
While many couples do end up going to court over custody, it is not required that you do so when it comes to determining living arrangements. You and your ex can determine custody issues while working through your lawyers while avoiding the battles and fees that come with going to court. For example, in about 51% of all custody cases, both parents agreed that the mother should be the custodial parent.
2. Visitation and Child Support Are Separate Matters
Some parents believe that if they are unable to visit their children, they do not have to pay child support to their ex. This is not the case. Although this issue can vary from state to state, visitation generally isn’t linked to child support. Therefore, if a parent is keeping the person paying child support from their child, the child support still must be paid. Similarly, if someone is behind on child support, this doesn’t mean that their child can be kept from them.
3. There Are Different Types of Custody
Custody does not just refer to who the child lives with. A custody lawyer may help their client determine which type of custody is available: Physical custody determines where the child lives; legal custody determines who makes decisions about things like medical issues and religious upbringing; sole custody decides which parent takes full responsibility for the child, or joint custody where custody is shared by both parents. While custody cases can vary wildly depending on where you live, who your custody lawyer is, and other factors, everyone should keep the child’s best interests in mind. Custody isn’t about determining what is best for the parents; it’s about what is best for children.