When going through a divorce, we know that you have enough on your plate. You need to deal with the house, the cars, and worst of all, the custody of your children. Any pair of people who are going through a divorce is going to have questions when it comes to the custody of their children, as well as child support. The family lawyers at Law Offices of Jimmy Carter are here to help you understand how the custody process will go, as well as what you can expect through the rest of your divorce. Read on to learn more about some of our most frequently asked questions.
“I just filed for divorce. Who decides which one of us will get custody of our children?”
When we get asked this question, it’s always difficult to answer. Obviously, there are many factors that go into deciding who gets custody. The number one way this will be decided, however, is up to you both. If you both come to an agreement without the interference of the court, then the proceedings will be much simpler. However, many people who are getting a divorce find it best to get input from their attorneys, counselors, or mediators they may need during this difficult process. If a decision is not made before going to court, then a family court judge will make this decision for them.
“If my child custody case has to go to court, how does the judge decide who gets custody of the kids?”
In order to determine who will receive custody, the court takes a look at many different factors. However, what matters the absolute most to the court is the children’s best interests. This can be hard to determine, especially in a court setting, but the main factor is who has been the child’s main caretaker. If you have older children, the court will listen to their preference before they make their final custody ruling.
“How much does the role of “primary caretaker” matter, and how is that defined?”
In most custody cases, it’s important for the court to take the primary caretaker into consideration. The primary caretaker is defined as the parent who takes the most care of the child. Psychologists have studied the bond between a child and their primary caretaker, and this bond is crucial in the development of the child and their successful growth. Because of this strong correlation between the emotional bond and the success of the child, psychologists highly recommend and encourage the primary caretaker and the child maintain their strong relationship after the divorce for the sake of the child’s mental stability. In order to determine which one of you is the primary caretaker, the court looks at who handles direct care-taking responsibilities, including everything from dressing, bathing, cooking, health care arrangements, and teaching.
“How does custody work if the mother and father of a child are not married?”
To be quite honest, it is difficult for an unwed father to win custody over a mother who is a good parent to her child. However, if you are a father and you feel as though the mother is unfit, you can prove that she is not a fit parent or that she is incapable of taking good care of the child. You are much more likely to achieve custody that way, especially if you are the primary caretaker! Even if you cannot get physical custody, you will likely be to able to get shared legal custody. This means that you get to make decisions about the child’s upbringing and welfare. In many cases, even unmarried fathers can take steps for custody or visitation rights in order to maintain a healthy relationship with the child.
“Can anyone other than the parents get custody of the child?”
Yes, this can happen in some cases. However, this is usually an emergency situation where neither the father nor the mother is fit to parent the child. Relatives like grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other close friends can gain “non-parental” or “third party” custody. This may be defined as seeking guardianship rather than custody, as custody is reserved for the parents of the child only.
Contact a Family Lawyer at Law Offices of Jimmy Carter
When it comes to the custody of your child, it’s important to not leave anything up to chance. That’s why you need to hire a family lawyer who can handle your custody case and figure out the best possible outcome for you and your family. We want to help you establish legal guardianship whenever possible, as well as walk you and your family through the custody process in order to ease your worries on the subject. When you need family law services in the Dallas Fort Worth area, come see the experts! Law Offices of Jimmy Carter is here to help your protect your rights, as well as the right of your family. Contact us today to learn more about our services.