If you are getting a divorce and you have minor children with your spouse, you will want to learn all about your state's laws regarding child custody. While each state has enacted its own laws regarding custody, there are a lot of similarities from state to state.
How much do you know about your parental rights? If this is your first divorce, you want to start researching children and divorce so you don't unintentionally say or do something wrong that could negatively affect the outcome of your case. In order to give you a head start on your research, we're going to point out a few important things about child custody that you should start thinking about.
1. Your spouse can't keep the children away from you. If your spouse said that if you file for divorce, you'll never see your children again, that's against the law. Assuming you are not an abusive parent or addicted to drugs, you are equally entitled to custody and visitation. We assure you, your spouse cannot legally keep your children away from you and get away with it.
Parents are encouraged to agree on a parenting plan. In all states, parents are encouraged by the courts to reach a child custody and visitation agreement on their own, without the court's intervention. Some states call this agreement a "parenting plan." If parents cannot agree on child custody, then the judge will have to step in and decide for them.
3. Older children cannot decide on child custody. It's a fallacy that an older child between the ages of 12 and 14 or older can decide which parent they will live with. The truth is that most judges will consider a child's wishes no matter the age of the child, and they will
give more consideration to the wishes of an older or mature child, but ultimately it's up to the judge. It's not up to a child, even if they are a teenager.
4. If you want custody, moving out isn't a good idea. If you want custody of your children, you should think twice before you move out of the family home, leaving your children with your soon-to-be-ex. Leaving your children sends a strong message to the judge that your spouse is perfectly capable of taking care of the youngsters. Not only that, but family law judges don't like to shake up children's routines – they prefer to keep everything as stable and consistent as possible. So, moving out could harm, not help your custody case.
If you are a parent who is headed toward divorce, please contact an experienced family law attorney for legal advice!