3 Child Custody Myths Debunked
Myths abound in the world of family law, especially when it comes to child custody. If you're currently going through custody negotiations with your ex-spouse, you may even believe some of them yourself. Below are three such myths and the truths behind them.
Myth #1: After a Certain Age, Children Get to Decide Who They'll Live With
While many judges will try their best to accommodate the wishes of the child, children don't always have the full picture and cannot be expected to make such a decision without considerable support.
If both parents are unable to come to a mutual agreement, a judge may step in and have final say. Other factors which may be more important than the child's age would be the stability of each household, the support offered by each parent, the current needs of the child, and previous relationships between child and parent. If your child's wishes are taken into account, it will usually be based off of emotional maturity rather than age.
Myth #2: Physical Custody Should Always Be Split Equally
It may seem best to keep the family as connected as possible following a divorce, but making the custody agreement equal for the parents may not be fair to the kids.
There are different kinds of custody agreements, each one as unique as the family who follows it. While some families certainly thrive with an equal custody schedule, usually alternating weeks, other families may be better off having the children live with one parent primarily, usually during the week, while having regular visits with the other parent, usually on the weekends.
Myth #3: Custody Agreements are Set in Stone
While you can't disobey a custody agreement that's already in place, you can certainly return to negotiations at any time in the future.
As life continues on after divorce, things will change. You may land a new job, get remarried, or your children may become extensively involved in an after-school activity that requires a lot of time. The reality is, as life changes, so will the needs of the custody agreement. This may be something worth addressing at the initial trial – how often will the custody arrangement be reconsidered and what changes will constitute a reevaluation?
To better understand the truth about custody agreements, it's best to consult with your family law attorney or mediator. The more you know, the better off you, your ex, and your children will be.
Contact a legal firm like Baudler, Maus, Forman, Kritzer & Wagner, LLP to learn more.