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5 Things to Know About Divorce and Child Custody Divorce can be such a bad time for the parents, but perhaps even worse for the children. If you are in a custody battle for the kids, there are several facts you need to know first. Read on to find out. The Child’s Best Interests Based on a number of factors, the divorce courts always place priority on the child’s best interests. The judge will weigh such things as the parent’s emotional state, ability to care for and provide for the child, as well as their physical health. In case the parents go toe to toe on all these things, the one who can offer the most stable environment is the one who has the edge. For toddlers, this is usually the primary caregiver, while for older kids, this is the parent who can offer the best communal, religious and educational resources.
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Many parents engaged in a custody battle are often awarded joint custody. There are several types of joint custody arrangements. ‘Joint legal custody,’ for example, grants both parents equal rights to decide on how to raise the child, which means they’ll have to make joint decisions on the educational, religious, and medical care aspects of their child’s upbringing. ‘Joint physical custody’ awards both parents equal time to spend with the child. For any type of joint custody, the parents must be willing to work together to make the arrangement work. Visitation Rights The parent who has not been granted custody is usually allowed visitation time, but it must all be done reasonably and fairly. It is usually left to the parent with custodial rights to determine just how much time is reasonable and fair; a good working relationship between the parents is necessary in order not to deny the kid some time with the noncustodial parent. Mother and Father Treated Equally Several years back, the divorce courts automatically granted custody of children below age 5 to their mothers, under the ‘tender age’ clause. Presently, however, the health and fitness of each parent are taken into account before making the decision. Today’s fathers are no longer subject to the stereotypical assumption that only mothers are capable of properly caring for their children. Parenting Schedules An effective technique for minimizing the effect your divorce had on your kids is by coming up with a schedule that specifies custodial and visitation times. Don’t forget that your child’s best interests should remain your priority, irrespective of the things that happened between the two of you. This is a good way to ensure conflict is almost always avoided, and keeps your child happy at the same time.