When married couples decide to part ways, their children are often caught in the middle. Here in Scranton, Pennsylvania, readers know that child custody disputes often arise during a divorce and between unmarried parents. If you are one of those parents that are having child custody disputes, you may be thinking of a custody arrangement that puts the best interest of the children upfront while minimizing the effects of a divorce on them.
Generally, child custody focuses on who is going to be the custodial and noncustodial parent. Children are likely to spend most of their time with the custodial parent, and this parent will be asked to take care of the children while the noncustodial parent will be awarded visitation rights. Often, physical custody is given or awarded to the custodial parent while both parents share legal custody. Legal custody refers to the right of each parent to make sound decisions for the growth and development of their children including school and sporting activities. You and your spouse may negotiate a custody arrangement that suits both of your situations. You have to set aside your emotions when discussing child custody issues as they can affect the negotiations between you and your spouse.
You and your divorcing spouse have to consider several factors in child custody, including community, school and religious considerations, as well as the mental and physical well-being of both parents, the wishes of the child, the age and sex of the child, the parental use of emotional abuse or discipline and the history of domestic violence or neglect.
Once you and your spouse have created a custody arrangement, you may speak with a judge who will formalize the agreement. However, if you and your spouse were not able to settle the issue, the judge may intervene and make the decision.
Source: Findlaw.com, "Child custody basics," accessed on Sep. 14, 2014