It is saddening to think that nearly 50% of all children in the United States will watch their parents divorce. Divorce is difficult for children. They want to spend time with both of their parents. However, even though the child’s best interest is always the court’s priority, this doesn’t mean the child can choose who they will live with most of the time. Coupled with the difficulty of the divorce is deciding who makes all the decisions for the child(ren).
Depending on the situation, the court might decide that having both parents involved in the decision-making is in the child’s best interest. This parental involvement is joint custody.
Contrary to popular belief, joint custody and shared custody is not the same thing. Joint custody focuses on the legal decisions regarding the child until adulthood.
Shared custody is about visitation rights. The two coexist because shared custody is part of joint custody. You can have shared custody without joint custody but not vice versa.
A judge determines joint custody in court during the divorce process. The judge is looking for many things to point towards the best parent for custody of the child. However, in a contested hearing, this is not always the case.
In a contested hearing, the parents cannot agree on custody or compromise for their child(ren). Since an agreement is impossible, the judge will not provide joint custody. From the judge’s perspective, if the two parents cannot compromise on custody, they will not be able to discuss legal issues for the child.
At this point, the judge must decide who will have legal custody. In some cases, neither of the parents receive total legal custody, but rather, the judge selects each parent to have the final say on different topics.
Ultimately, two parents earn joint custody if they show how well they work together. The judge looks to see if they put the child’s best interest first.
You must have a team of lawyers on your side during your divorce. Not only will these lawyers help you with the legal terms and help you split property and possessions, but they can assist in custody. Whether or not you and your spouse settle on joint custody, a solid legal team of lawyers can help you prove you are a competent parent.
Judges look for many things when considering custody, including finances and relationships with the children. But the most important thing when considering custody is your role as a parent.
When you hire the solid legal team at Hickey & Hull Law Partners, you bring together some of the best child custody lawyers in the state. We have years of experience and can help you win custody.
Visit us today for a free consultation!