Who gets to make custody decisions during divorce?

Child custody is perhaps the most complex and emotionally challenging issue in a divorce. The end of a marriage can be difficult on the youngest members of the family, but it can be useful to work on a way to avoid unnecessary complications. You can work toward this goal by taking the time to understand more about your rights and options.

It’s normal to have concerns about what will happen to your kids after the divorce is final. Every divorce and every family is different, and it can be useful for you to understand how custody decisions happen and who gets to make them, as well as how you can protect your interests as a parent.

Who is going to decide?

There are two different ways by which you can reach a final custody order. You can either work with your spouse on an out-of-court agreement, or a family law court can make those decisions on your behalf. You may find it useful to understand the following about these two options:

  • Parents decide: Through either informal discussions or methods of alternative dispute resolution, parents can craft a custody decision that meets their individual needs and goals. This can lead to a custom-tailored and more workable custody and visitation order.
  • Court decides: While considering all available evidence, the court’s main priority will be to protect the best interests of the children. The court will decide if the parents cannot or are unwilling to work on an out-of-court decision.

It is still possible for you and your spouse to work together on a custody agreement, even if the two of you do not get along. If your goal is to avoid custody litigation altogether, you would be wise to seek guidance regarding your custody goals, parental rights and benefits for your children.

Finding a solution that works

Divorce is not easy, but there are ways you can meet your objectives and maintain your role as an active and loving parent. With a clear understanding of your rights, you can intentionally pursue a custody and visitation arrangement that works for your family for years to come.

As you consider your custody options, you would be wise to first seek a complete evaluation of your case. Knowing about your parental rights is the first step in protecting them. No matter your individual goals regarding custody, you have the right to fight for the best future for you and your kids.