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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 August 4, 2020

    8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

    8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

    Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

    What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

    By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

    I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

    Less is more.

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    Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

    What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

    Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

    1. Create Room for What’s Important

    When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

    2. More Freedom

    The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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    3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

    When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

    Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

    You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

    4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

    All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

    We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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    It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

    5. More Peace of Mind

    When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

    The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

    6. More Happiness

    When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

    You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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    7. Less Fear of Failure

    When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

    In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

    8. More Confidence

    The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

    What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

    If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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