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Things You Should Know about Divorce and Custody Battle

Things You Should Know about Divorce and Custody Battle

Divorce

The end of a marriage is always a sad and sometimes heart-breaking event, usually marked by disappointment, betrayals and the loss of expectations. However, most times, there are lots of financial, emotional, legal, parental and practical aspects that require changes and adjustment which can take some time.

Nevertheless, divorce serves an important purpose by emotionally and legally freeing people from unwanted relationships to enable them to find and form a more stable relationship with others or themselves.

Divorce is becoming less adversarial and contentious with approaches like mediation and negotiation. This is especially beneficial for the children, who are at a disadvantage and have their needs often overlooked in contentious divorces.

Divorce and Child Custody

In most cases, the custody battle is what makes the divorce even messier; with both parents fighting for the right to have custody of the child without considering what exactly might be best for the child. This is where the courts step in to make sure that the best interest of the child is well represented.

Over the 5 years that I’ve been practicing law, people always ask me what the court considers in determining child custody award. Most of the time, the facts of each case differs and varying laws across the country are also a factor. However, regardless of the courts’ jurisdiction, most courts when considering child custody base their decisions on the best interests of the child.

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Sometimes, if the child is older, the court may give consideration to the parent he/she would prefer to live with while in some very contentious cases, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests.

    Factors that Impact What’s in the “Best Interest of the Child”

    In considering what’s in the best interest of a child, the courts will in some cases consider some of the following factors:

    • The age, sex, mental, and physical health of the child.

    • The willingness or unwillingness of the parent to accept custody.

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    • The ability of the parents to agree, cooperate and communicate on issues relating to the child.

    • The safety of the child and any history of domestic violence, alcohol or drug abuse of any parent.

    • The mental and physical health of each parent.

    • The lifestyle of each parent, to determine if the child will be exposed to a hazardous environment and which parent can provide the child with a stable environment.

    • The emotional bond between the child and each parent.

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    • The ability of each parent to provide for the basic needs of the child, including food, clothing, shelter, medical care and guidance.

    • The special needs of a child.

    • The ability of the parent to provide adequate and quality education to the child.

    • The child’s established living pattern in relation to religious training, school, and extracurricular activities, and how a change in the child’s living situation would impact him.

    In some instances the court may take into consideration which parent would not alienate the child from the other parent; the parent who seems more likely to encourage the child to maintain a relationship with the non-custodial parent.

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    Types of Child Custody

    After considering these factors, in instances where the court finds that both parents are responsible, the decision might come down to the type of custody that would best serve the child’s interest. The court might order one of three types of custody:

    (1) sole custody; awarding both the legal and physical custody of the child to one parent/spouse.

    (2) joint legal custody; Both parents/spouses have joint responsibility for all major decisions regarding the child’s welfare, health and education.

    (3) joint physical custody. In this case, the court will usually designate one parent’s house as the child’s principal residence and determine a time-sharing plan for the other parent.

    Getting Legal Help with Child Custody

    Divorce and child custody cases can be messy, highly emotional and stressful for parents and children. You should not attempt to represent yourself in a child custody case because it could be very risky. Before moving forward with a divorce especially where a child custody battle is involved, you should be well informed and consult with a family and divorce lawyer or professional who will assess the advantages and disadvantages of your case and advise you accordingly on the laws in your state.

    Featured photo credit: Rosalind Sedacca via jenningswire.com

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    Elise Bauer

    Freelance Writer, Lawyer & Blogger

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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