Divorce And Childen


There are two key elements to decree from a legal standpoint regarding children: custody and financial support.

Children Custody

With whom and where will the children live? The answer is usually negotiated between the parents with the help of the mediator or the divorce lawyers. If an agreement can’t be reached, it will be the court that will make the decision. It will be based on the child’s best interests.

I most cases, physical custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child will live most of the time.

Some parents choose a joint-custody solution. It is a more demanding arrangement for both the parents and the children compare to a home base with liberal time allowed to the non-custodial parent. Today, courts are more reluctant to approve such choice.

Split custody of siblings is also possible but is subject to scrutiny by the Courts, much less in favor a such an option.

The mother is usually awarded the physical custody of children when they are Unmarried parents.  It can be contested and does usually have priority over relatives, foster and prospective adoptive parents.

When one parent is awarded the physical custody of children, visitation rules have to be determined.

  • It can be on a reasonable visitation basis. This means that the parents will decide by themselves what it will be and manage changes and evolution. It usually means that the custodial parent has more power and influence on what it will be. Also, as the children grow older, they will also be able to influence how it is done. If it is not working well, you can ask to have the court revisit the agreement and impose an alternate agreement.
  • It can be fixed by a court decision. In that case, the court fixes the visitation schedule, time and places.
Factors Considered

The leading principle, even if it is difficult to really assess it, is the child best interests.

Here are the most common factors used by most states:

  • Wishes of the child: If the children are old enough, the courts will hear them about their preferences;
  • Financial, mental, physical status and health of each parent;
  • Drug, alcohol or sex abuse by a parent;
  • Quality of discipline and emotional support by each parent;
  • Relationship with other members of the household;
  • Stability of the home environment and continuity;
  • Adjustment to school, friends and community;
  • Age and sex;
  • Interaction with members of each parent extended family;
  • Religion and other cultural considerations.

In addition to the analysis of these specifics issues, the court will take into account the history of caretaking during the course of the marriage. The court will receive positively the evaluation of a psychologist that can demonstrate that the child had and still has a bond with his/her primary caretaker before the divorce. It is generally accepted that it is important to the future development of the child.

Finally, the court will review their capabilities to manage day to day care-taking responsibilities.  Depending on the age of the children, the professional and social commitment of each parent they will evaluate who can take care of:

  • Health care arrengements;
  • Meal planning and preparation;
  • Household core, laundry;
  • Grooming, dressing, bathing of the children;
  • Schooling support in reading, writing, math;
  • Participation in extracurricular activites;
  • Clothes purchasing,
  • etc.
The ¨legal custody¨

of the children may be a shared responsibility of both parents. It includes his education, religion, health care and any other important concerns.

of the children may be a shared responsibility of both parents. It includes his education, religion, health care and any other important concerns.


Children Support