During a divorce, child custody is a major concern for parents. There is a great deal of misinformation mixed with the facts about it.
It is often difficult to discern between falsehoods and truths. However, knowing what is a myth and what is reality may help parents as they undergo divorce and custody determination proceedings.
1. The mother has an automatic advantage
The law requires courts to perform parenting time determination based on multiple factors that together form a picture of what is in the best interests of the children. The parent’s sex is not one of these considerations. The only time the mother may have an initial advantage is if the parents are not wed and the establishment of paternity is not complete. In this case, the mother receives full custody until it is (usually through DNA testing), upon which, courts revisit custody.
2. The children may decide which parent to live with if they are at least 12
Underage children may not choose their own parenting time schedule no matter how old they are. However, courts may, and often do, consider their preferences, given the courts judge them to be old and mature enough to understand.
3. There is no child support if there is an equal custody split
People often do not realize what child support is actually for. The court wants children to experience an equal quality of life in both households. This means that in a 50-50 split if one parent has significantly greater resources or income, he or she pays child support to help make this happen and to contribute financially to the upkeep of his or her children.
Sifting through the myths is often a frustrating task. However, knowing the truth helps individuals as they deal with life during and after divorce.