Divorce can be a difficult experience, especially when children are involved. Family law has a potential to be complex and, while having a skilled divorce attorney can help you effectively navigate the situation, it is still crucial to educate yourself on the road ahead. This will not only increase your chances at obtaining a favorable outcome, but allow you to manage your expectations and better understand the circumstances of your case.
Here are some answers to the most common questions parents ask regarding child custody:
- What is the difference between physical and legal custody? Legal custody refers to a parent’s ability to make decisions on behalf of your children. This includes religious training or academic-related matters. Physical custody simply refers to where your children will reside. A parent could have legal custody without having physical custody. In fact, there are a variety of options for parents, so it is important to discuss these with your attorney to figure out which best serves the needs of you and your children.
- How do courts make decisions regarding child custody? Several factors are involved in the determination over who is awarded child custody, though a child’s best interests are paramount. An existing child custody arrangement, as well as the relationships the children have with each parent, will also play a role in this process.
- What are the “best interests of the child?” You hear this phrase a lot when it comes to child custody. Although each state defines this by its own standards, family courts generally presume relationships with both parents to be in a child’s best interests, if possible.
- Do I need a temporary child custody order? It can sometimes take a while for a divorce case to reach a resolution, especially if many issues are hotly contested. Some states require temporary child custody orders so that a family is not left in limbo during this time, but even if you are not required to obtain one, it is still wise to request it, especially under certain circumstances, such as the severe illness of a parent or military service.
- Should I consider mediation to resolve a child custody dispute? Mediation is helpful for resolving many issues, including child custody. It allows both parties to negotiate in a setting that is far less adversarial than a courtroom. If both you and your former spouse are able to keep an open mind and are willing to compromise, this process can go quickly, saving you money and heartache.
- How should I prepare for a child custody evaluation? Your relationship with your child is what will primarily be examined, so do not allow yourself to get so worked up that your love does not shine through your frazzled nerves. Appearances also matter, so be sure that your home is clean and organized. Being your best self and answering the evaluator’s questions clearly will do your case a lot of favors.
- Are judges biased against fathers in child custody cases? In the past, it was common for courts to be biased against fathers in child custody cases, but this is no longer the case. Generally, courts are more inclined make decisions that will allow both parents to continue to have fulfilling and meaningful relationships with their children, unless one parent is unfit.
- Will allegations of domestic abuse hurt my chances at obtaining child custody? Understandably, the courts are often hesitant to award custody to a parent who has perpetrated domestic violence toward a child or any other member of the family. That said, they will be sure to carefully investigate any claims of abuse before making a decision.
Murrieta Family Law Attorney
At Westover Law Group, our family law attorneys are committed to our clients and understand the difficulties you might face in making decisions that are right for your children while keeping your personal wishes in mind. Our Murrieta legal team takes a client-focused approach and looks for every possible route to reach the best outcome possible for you and your family. You do not need to endure this difficult time alone. Let our child custody lawyer help shoulder some of the burdens and decipher the various laws so you are well prepared if your case goes to court.
For a legal team that will offer you and your family the greatest chance of a future success, contact Westover Law Group today at (951) 643-0085 to schedule your free initial case evaluation. All calls are answered 24/7.