Child Custody Myths Sometimes Complicate the Process

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Child Custody on Friday, June 13, 2014.

Many Florida residents know that following a divorce, the idea of not seeing the couple's children all the time can be difficult. This can be made even more so if the divorcing parents believe some of the child custody myths parents sometimes may hear. Although the custody process can be adversarial because of the strong emotions involved, it does not have to be; too often divorcing parents listen to child custody war stories from others and may begin to prepare for the worst. Custody laws can vary state-to-state but there are certain child custody commonalities throughout the legal system.

In the past, mothers may have been favored in the child custody process. Because child custody is based on the best interests of the child and takes into account various factors, including who is the child's primary caretaker, changes in social norms and family structure have also led to changes in child custody arrangements. In determining who the child's primary caretaker is, the court will determine which parent primarily handles the meal planning and preparation for the child; the bathing, grooming and dressing responsibilities; purchases clothing and cares for the laundry; makes healthcare arrangements; teaches reading, writing and math skills; and fosters participation in extracurricular activities.

Courts will look at the relationship with the children the parents have and consider other factors, as well, to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Many parents today share joint custody and more fathers are being awarded sole custody. In any event, the best efforts will be made to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Disputes will likely only result in decisions being made by the courts rather than the parents so it is important to determine a child custody schedule because life circumstances may change. A detailed agreement for the school year, summer and holidays may avoid problems down the road.

While it may be difficult, it is important to remain clear and focused on the best interests of the child, rather than the emotions of the process, during child custody decisions. Understanding the family law process, and how outcomes are achieved and arrived at, may help parents avoid unnecessarily linking emotional issues, such as child custody to child support, for example, and achieve resolutions all parties can live with.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Five Custody Myths Separating Parents Need to Know," June 5, 2014

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