When getting a divorce, child custody is a major consideration that requires both parents to agree about. If the parents are facing problems arriving at an agreement, there are options for helping them review their options and avoid a child custody hearing. If the parents have to attend a hearing custody, the judge makes this decision for them.
Can the Parents Agree to the Terms of the Divorce?
When the parents can agree to the terms of the divorce, the process is easier, and there are fewer disputes. Typically, in the divorce agreement, there is a child custody arrangement, and if the parents can agree, they can set up their own arrangement. It is when the parents cannot reach an agreement or are arguing about child custody that things get tricky and complicated. The first question that many parents ask is, “Can I get Joint Custody?”
Have They Set Up A Parenting Schedule?
A parenting schedule simplifies the process and allows the parents to determine when they spend time with their child. For example, if the parents have alternating work schedules, they may set up a parenting plan that eliminates child care costs, or they could alternate which parent lives in the family home according to who has the child. With a parenting plan, the sky is the limit, and a joint custody arrangement gives both parents equal rights to the child and equal visitation.
If the Parents Are Fighting About Custody
When parents are fighting about custody, there are alternative ways to discuss their differences before a hearing is needed. Mediation, for example, allows the parents to meet each other with their respective attorneys and discuss custody.
How Old Is the Child?
The age of the child could be a defining factor in a custody case, too. In most areas, children who are at least 12 years old have the opportunity to state where they want to live. If the case goes to court and a hearing is scheduled, guardian ad litem is assigned to the child to allow the child to share their wishes with the court. As long as the preferred parent doesn’t present a risk to the child, it is likely that the court will grant the child’s wishes.
What If the Parents Need a Custody Hearing?
If the parents still cannot agree, the court will schedule a custody hearing. The court will listen to the evidence and arguments of both sides. However, the final decision is up to the judge. If the parents do not want to attend a hearing or allow a judge to make this decision, they will need to come to an agreement and set up their own parenting plan. The parenting plan will also include child support orders.
During a divorce, the couple creates a divorce agreement, and they must agree on all the terms including child custody. Child custody arrangements define how much time the parents spend with the child, and has the right to make decisions. Joint custody gives both parents the right to make decisions and gives them more time with the child. Parents who want to learn more about the assignments start by contacting an attorney.