During a divorce, parents can either work on a custody agreement together or go through the litigation process where a judge will render a decision. It is important to understand the different types of custody involved in such situations. Legal custody refers to the decision-making authority a parent may have regarding important issues in the child’s life, such as education, health care, and more. Physical custody refers to where the child will reside.
Generally, family courts believe it is in the best interest of a child to maintain a relationship with both parents and, therefore, often award joint custody. That said, no parent is entitled to joint custody. It is only presumed to serve the child’s best interests. If there are special circumstances, such as domestic violence, substance abuse, or a parent is deemed unfit, the court may deny that parent joint legal and physical custody and order supervised visitation.
Understanding the Best Interests of a Child
For the court to deny joint legal and physical custody, a parent must provide evidence to demonstrate that such a decision would be in the best interests of the child.
Below are some factors a judge may examine when considering a child’s best interests:
The actions, conduct, and moral standard of each parent
Which parent will support the other parent’s relationship with the child
If the parents have acted on the child’s best interests before the divorce
The quality of the bond between each parent and the child
Typically, unless the court deems a parent unfit, the court will award joint legal custody, allowing both parents to continue making important decisions in a child’s life, regardless of the child’s primary residence. Whenever possible, the court also awards joint physical custody, unless the child’s parents do not live in the same city or region, making it impractical for a child to spend equal amounts of time in both households.
Ultimately, parents are not entitled to a specific custody arrangement. Instead, family courts render such decisions based on what best supports the overall wellbeing, happiness, and safety of the child. The court will also take into consideration each parent’s work schedule and the schedules of the children to optimize each party’s time with the children. There is no punishment for working full-time, and it is in the child’s best interest to be supported financially. Even if one party works heavy hours outside the home and one party may have more of a domestic workload, the family courts generally favor a situation in which both parents are still part of a child’s life, maintaining strong and healthy bonds.
Reach Out to an Experienced Child Custody Attorney Today!
If you are involved in a child custody dispute, the legal team at Kraft Miles, A Law Corporation can assist you in ensuring you receive an arrangement that serves the best interests of your children. Our team understands the difficulties parents face during these emotionally challenging circumstances and will do everything necessary to ease your burdens and protect your rights as a parent. With more than six decades of experience on our side, you can rest assured your case is in good hands with us.
Secure the skilled legal guidance you need and reach out to our compassionate child custody team today at (818) 462-5076 to schedule a consultation with one of our trusted attorneys.