Who is entitled to custody of children after a divorce?
The days of only allowing mothers to be considered better parents are long gone. Nowadays, child custody is awarded based on the best interests of the child. Various factors come into play while giving the verdict of custody of a child to a particular parent, including the parents’ marital status (whether they are divorced or not) and the children’s wishes.
Divorce is one of the family law problems that comes with asset division, child custody, and other issues. The process of divorce can be different for every family, but the end result is the same: one household becomes two. The parents are no longer married, and they must make new arrangements for how they will co-parent their children.
Child custody is the most essential issue that follows a divorce since a child’s entire life will be transformed. The decisions that are taken will shape the child’s future and will have a long-lasting impact. It was once felt that children should remain with their mother for a better education after a divorce, but this notion has gone out of date.
Now, the court looks at the best interests of the child while deciding on which parent the child should live with. The best interest of the child standard is a legal test that is used to determine child custody arrangements. This standard focuses on the child’s physical, psychological, and emotional needs.
There are different types of custody, such as sole custody, joint physical custody, or visitation with the child as decided by the court. In the process of a divorce, either of the parents is granted legal custody of the child with guardian rights. However, both the parents may also be granted guardian rights. They can make all the decisions for a child including medical and other financial matters if a child is a minor, but to make any decision for a minor the legal consent of the guardian is required.
3 Key Factors Necessary for child custody issues
There are many factors which the court will look at when determining who is entitled to custody of the children after a divorce. However, there are three key factors which are necessary for the court to consider:
- Primary Caregiver
- Bonding between parent and the child
- Relationship with another parent
Before deciding on child custody, one of the key factors considered by the court is who the primary caregiver of the child is. A primary caregiver is defined as the person who has been responsible for the child’s daily care, provides the best care for the child, and accepts the responsibilities of a guardian.
Some of the daily responsibilities of a primary caregiver may include bathing, feeding, putting to bed, going for regular health checkups, and others. In most cases, the primary caregiver is the mother of the child. However, this is not always the case. The father of the child may also be the primary caregiver if he has been taking care of the child on a daily basis. The court will also look at who has been responsible for taking the child to doctors’ appointments and school functions.
A stay-at-home parent or a working parent can both be considered as the primary caregiver depending on how they meet the child’s needs. The court looks at the amount of time each parent spends with the child, their ability to provide care, and other relevant factors while deciding on who the primary caregiver is.
Bonding between parent and the child
The court will also look at the bonding between the parent and the child while deciding on custody. The parent-child bond is a special relationship that is built over time. It is the emotional connection between a parent and their child. This bond starts to develop from the moment the child is born. The bond between a parent and their child grows stronger as they spend more time together and share special moments. The court will look at how strong the bond is between the parent and the child while deciding on custody.
The court will also look at how much time each parent has spent with the child. If one parent has been away from the child for a long period of time, it may be difficult for them to establish a strong bond with the child. The court will also look at how each parent has been involved in the child’s life. If one parent has been more involved in the child’s life, such as taking them to school functions and doctor’s appointments, then they may have a stronger bond with the child.
Relationship with another parent
The court will also look at the relationship between the parents while deciding on custody. If the parents have a good relationship, then they may be more likely to agree on custody arrangements. However, if the parents have a bad relationship, then they may not be able to agree on custody arrangements.
The court will also look at whether or not the parents are able to communicate with each other. If the parents are not able to communicate with each other, then they may not be able to agree on custody arrangements. And even if they do, communication difficulties may make it difficult to co-parent.
The court will also look at the ability of the parents to put aside their differences and work together for the sake of the child. If the parents are not able to do so, then the child may be caught in the middle of their conflict.
The court will consider any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or substance abuse when deciding on custody. If there is evidence of any of these, then the court may not award custody to the parent who has been involved in these activities.
The court will also look at the mental and physical health of the parents when deciding on custody. If one of the parents has a mental or physical health condition that may affect their ability to care for the child, then the court may award them custody if it is determined that they are capable of adequately caring for the child.
Child custody may be a complex process and there are many factors that the court will consider when making a decision. There are a variety of questions that need to be answered, including:
- What type of child custody arrangements are the parents comfortable with? This includes Physical custody, joint physical custody, sole physical custody, visitation rights of a non-custodial parent, visitation rights of grandparents, step-parents, and caretakers, legal custody, and third-party custody.
- When will a couple reach a child custody agreement? It includes informal negotiations, mediation, stability, sexual orientation of parents, neglect or abuse, and child preferences.
- What are the different potentials in child support obligations? It includes child care expenses, the income of a custodial parent, other parent’s ability to pay, and the child’s standard of living.
- What are the personal and emotional considerations? This includes treating another partner with respect, no violence, and other verbal attacks.
- When to hire the right attorney?
If you are facing a divorce and are concerned about custody of your children, you should speak to an experienced divorce lawyer in Philadelphia. An attorney can help you understand the factors that the court will consider when making a decision and can help you create a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of your child.