Divorce is always a difficult situation. For a parent, losing custody of your child can make things significantly worse. Concern over what will happen with their child is one of the most common reasons why people stay in failing or unhealthy marriages. However, staying in an unhealthy marriage “for the sake of your kids” often just makes things worse.
Instead, you should speak with a divorce attorney about your situation and what you want in terms of custody. It’s generally best to speak to an attorney before you and your spouse talk about divorce. They’ll help you understand your options while also advising you on how to communicate with your spouse about the situation.
This includes the subject of custody. Though custody is often viewed as a court decision imposed on parents, it’s typically handled outside of court between the parents, their attorneys, and a mediator. If the two parties cannot agree on terms, it will then be taken to court where a judge will decide.
Custody is determined by a number of factors. Two of the most important factors are who handles the majority of the child-related responsibilities and who has the stronger emotional bond. These often don’t have black and white answers, and they’re not the only facts taken into account. Courts also look at home stability, presence of harmful substances, a parent’s ability to care for a child, and the child’s own wishes.
The Types of Child Custody
Custody is generally not a case of one parent receives it and the other does not. There are different types of custody that may be awarded depending on the surrounding circumstances.
Residential custody, also known as sole custody, is where one parent is given physical and legal responsibility of the child. That means the child lives with that parent in a permanent capacity, and that parent makes decisions regarding education, medical needs, religious upbringing, and more.
The other parent will usually have visitation rights that are decided by the court. This form of custody is growing less common unless one parent poses a danger to the child, as well as situations where the parents live in separate geographical locations.
Shared custody involves both parents sharing prominent roles in the life of their child. Sometimes shared custody includes both legal and physical custody. Other times, it might just cover one of these areas. Shared custody agreements can look very different from case to case. Ultimately, it depends on what is best for the child and what the parents agree on.
If the parents can’t agree, the courts will decide.
Improving Your Chances of Attaining Primary Custody
As we said before, there are a number of factors that decide who receives custody of a child. How these factors are presented to the judge can ultimately make or break your case. For better or worse, appearances can play a large role in this process.
How you look and how you act can greatly impact the courts’ opinion of you. It’s important that you arrive to scheduled meetings and hearings on-time. You should look well dressed and well groomed. Showing that you can take care of yourself helps the judge see that you can take care of your child as well. With today’s digital focused society, it’s also important that you look presentable online. This means ensuring that there’s nothing indecent on your social media profiles.
You should also be very wary about getting into any new relationships until your divorce is finalized. This can negatively affect your chances of receiving custody otherwise. Instead of looking for dates, focus on taking care of yourself and staying as active in your child’s life as possible.
A Good Attorney Can Be the Deciding Factor
Divorces involving children are always difficult to navigate. One simple mistake could result in you losing custody and being removed from your child’s life. You need a lawyer experienced in divorce cases and family law to ensure your case is presented properly.
For a divorce attorney in Springfield, Ohio, contact the law offices of Michael T. Edwards. We work closely with you to understand your situation so that we can properly convey your case to the courts and improve your chances of getting custody. If you’ve already had your custody hearing, and you’d like to appeal the results, we can also help you explore options for a divorce decree.
Contact us today for a free consultation.