Child custody is among the most contested issues that are tackled during divorce proceedings. This is why, in most cases, child custody agreements are often left in the hands of the court. Parents in the middle of a highly emotional and contested divorce might not always be in the best position to make decisions regarding their children. As such, the court steps in and enables a judge to decide on behalf of the parents.
The law is clear in prioritizing the best interest of all children involved in a child custody case. Ideally, the court will decide on a child custody agreement that allows both parent to have equal opportunity in caring for and influencing their children. If the couple’s separate living arrangements will allow it, the court will typically decide on a joint custody agreement that allows the children to live with and spend equal time with both their parents. Should this not be possible, the court might look into a joint legal custody agreement. In this scenario, one parent will be named the children’s primary caregiver or custodial parent, while the other parent will be allowed full legal capacity to take part in their children’s lives.
Of course, any of these two arrangements are awarded by the court following certain factors and considerations. Based on specific considerations, the law can award a joint custody arrangement for divorcing parents. According to Marshall & Taylor, P.C., these considerations typical included the employment and income opportunities of both parents, the stability of both parents’ homes and their proximity to each other, the children’s educational prospects, and if both parents show enthusiasm and willingness over sharing custody.
Overall, even if it could end up in either of these ideal custody arrangements, determining an agreement that both you and your former partner can settle with can be a difficult process. If you need help navigating a child custody dispute, do not hesitate to contact an experienced family law attorney for appropriate counseling.