Divorce – What About the Kids?
If you are thinking about divorce and you share minor or otherwise dependent children with your spouse, you are likely navigating a great deal of anxiety about how your children will be affected by a potential split. It is normal to feel anxious about this major life transition and its possible effects on everyone involved. One of the best things you can do to manage this anxiety is to arm yourself with information. Meeting with an experienced family law attorney in a risk-free consultation setting will allow you to ask questions, voice concerns, and receive personalized guidance about your options moving forward. When it comes to the divorce process, knowledge really does equate to empowerment.
Child Custody Considerations
There are two primary considerations that you should take into account when thinking about child custody. First, if you and your co-parent agree in re: how child custody should be divided, a judge will likely not need to intervene in your case in any way. Judges are only called upon to settle disputes when the parties involved can’t reach an agreement on their own. Should you decide to co-parent moving forward, you’ll want to speak with a divorce lawyer about how to begin drafting a parenting plan.
Second, if you are concerned that shared custody will not be the best arrangement for your child, the judge assigned to your case will settle your dispute according to the “best interests of the child” standard. This means that the judge will rule based on whichever position best reflects the best interests of your child(ren). As a result, you’ll want to start thinking about your child custody options with that standard in mind.
Drafting a Parenting Plan
If you and your child’s other parent either agree to co-parent or are ordered to so while moving forward, the court will likely require you to draft a parenting plan. As an experienced divorce lawyer – including those who practice at Robinson & Hadeed – can confirm, a parenting plan functions as a legally enforceable set of expectations and boundaries that will govern your co-parenting arrangement. You can address a variety of topics within your parenting plan, from when your child will reside with each parent to how holidays and special occasions will be approached. You want to leave enough flexibility in your terms for “life to happen” but set firm enough expectations that everyone involved is empowered to plan their lives according to those expectations.