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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 September 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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