All the state courts in the US determine child custody with a focus on the best interests of children. For the most part, most people believe that judges make decisions solely on this basis. However, the process is not so simple. States define the best interests of children in varied ways, and most do not list specific criteria in their respective family law codes.
Judges are not in Favor Forcing Change on Children
The standards of best interests in most states safeguard kids from being taken from one home forcibly and moved to another home merely because their parents have decided to divorce. If parents reside separately for some time prior to filing for divorce, the parent with whom the children usually reside with has an edge, particularly when the parent in question resides in the family home.
If the case is otherwise or contrary, the court may favor the parent who usually looks after the children despite what some divorce lawyers wish. Courts would like divorcing parents to set aside any hard feelings they have for one another, and ensure that their children spend time with them.
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Children’s Preferences are Important
Courts do not encourage interference with child visitation and your divorce lawyer will inform you of this. This means that the courts have the policy of children first. Judges in most states consider the wishes of a child while deciding on custody. On no account will they place a child with his/her preferred parent but also include the child’s wishes in all their decisions. This is especially true as far as teenagers are concerned.
Judges Abhor Domestic Violence
Judges frown on domestic violence of any kind and you do not need a divorce attorney to remind you of this. If they find either one or the other parent has a history of domestic violence, they will also consider this factor in many states. However, in case one parent falsely accuses the other one of violence, such an accusation might work against the one who made it in the first place.
Issues that do not affect Custody
Some spouses might believe that bad behavior on the part of the other parent ought to influence a judge’s decision when it comes to custody. There are state courts that consider issues like the moral character of a parent, but judges in general might not focus on such matters unless the parent’s conduct has a direct bearing on the child. For instance, in case a parent is having an affair with another person, and the children do not know anything about it, the judge might not find it significant in a custody decision.
However, if a parent has a history of driving under influence, he or she might be denied custody as such habits can put children at risk.
A Family Law Lawyer can Help
Like many laws, the law concerning child custody can be a contentious as well as complicated issue that requires the services of a wonderful and marvelous lawyer. This is because the facts of every divorce case are unique. If you are in the midst of a divorce where child custody is an issue, you ought to talk to a divorce lawyer as soon as possible.
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