How to Handle Custody Disputes in a Divorce
If you’re going through a divorce, child custody disputes may become a major part of the proceedings. These can be stressful and frustrating for the parents and children involved. Ultimately, the best way to resolve these issues is to avoid the courtroom altogether and reach an agreement outside of the court system using alternative dispute resolutions like mediation or collaborative law.
Many family courts and juvenile courts have a duty to determine what’s in the best interest of a child. This means that the judge will consider all factors that are important to the child’s well-being. This includes the parents’ ability to provide for a child’s physical, emotional, social and educational needs.
The judge also has the responsibility to make sure that a custody order is in the best interests of the child. This can include ensuring that the parents’ home environment is healthy and safe for the children and that they can communicate with each other and work together to raise the children.
In addition to looking at the parents’ personal relationships, the judge will consider how close each parent is to the children and how much contact they have with them. If the parents have a strong, supportive bond, the court is likely to award shared custody, which allows the parents to divide parenting time evenly.
If the parents are unable to resolve their differences in a mutually agreeable manner, they may be required to undergo mediation to help them come up with an amicable solution for their cases. In some states, mediation is mandatory before a court can decide on a final custody order.
The standard of “best interests” is used in most contested custody cases. It’s a common approach for judges to use, but each case is unique, and the specific details of the case can influence what a judge believes are in a child’s best interests.
Biological parents are typically responsible for rearing their children, but in some situations, the court may award custody to another person, such as grandparents or a foster parent. In these cases, a judge will often consider whether the other person has a history of putting the child’s needs ahead of their own.
A judge might be more likely to grant joint custody if the parents can cooperate and communicate about major decisions that affect their child’s health, education, religion or extracurricular activities. This is called “joint allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities,” or JACS, for short.
In some cases, however, this type of arrangement is inappropriate for the child and the parents. For instance, if a parent has a history of substance abuse or domestic violence, the court may not award joint custody to that person. In some other cases, a court will not award shared custody if one of the parents has demonstrated overt hostility towards the other or has been dishonest to the Court.
Ultimately, custody is a complex and sensitive issue that requires the expertise of a qualified divorce & family lawyer in Miami. If you are involved in a custody dispute, it is important to understand the legal aspects of your situation so that you can protect your rights and keep the process as stress-free as possible for yourself and your children.