No couple goes into a marriage with the expectation of someday filing divorce papers. This is especially true if the couple chooses to have children. Yet, sometimes parents reach a point in their relationship when they feel it is best for all involved to go their separate ways. But this decision does come with its complications, one of which is which parent should have primary custody of the children?
In some cases, parents are able to make an amicable agreement regarding with whom the children should live. However, in other instances the question of custody becomes a hotly contested issue. And if parents cannot resolve the dispute between themselves, then it will likely be up to the courts to settle the matter.
The court follows a guideline of factors to determine eligibility of parents for custody; however, none of these are binding. The judge may make any rule she believes is in the best interests of the child. The only binding standard upon the judge is to rule in the best interests of the child. The court will consider every possible factor from school locations, age, how much each parent works, who is getting the marital home, the location of the child's friends and social support, any presence of abuse and anything else the judge deems relevant.
Typically, the judge will order some sort of joint custody with visitation. It is believed that, except in extreme circumstances, it is best if both parents contribute to the raising of the children.
If you are in the midst of a child custody dispute that is heading to court, it is imperative that you prepare to make your case for custody. At Garton & Vogt, P.C., we have experience helping our clients work through custody and visitation disputes. On this website you can read about the services we offer.