When there are children involved in a divorce, one of the biggest and most important questions is, "Who gets custody of the children?" As the welfare and best interests of the children should be the top priority, there are plenty of factors that come into play when making the decision.
Contrary to what is often seen or shown on TV, child custody can be a mutual decision between parents -- sometimes with the assistance of a neutral third party, but with no input whatsoever from the court. It’s best for everybody involved to reach a custody agreement in a mature and open manner outside the courtroom.
While parents who are in amicable terms may draft and settle on a written custody agreement by themselves, the vast majority of child custody cases are resolved through a type of informal negotiation known as mediation.
In a child custody case, the mediator asks the questions, facilitates the discussion, and helps in identifying issues to assist parents towards a mutual agreement. They may also aid in drafting the custody agreement, but don't offer legal advice nor decide the case. Mediators don’t have to be lawyers, but most parents choose to hire experienced child custody lawyers as a mediator for their knowledge and expertise of the field.
Although mediation (or other mutual forms of agreement) is the ideal course, it's not for everyone. If the parents cannot set aside their differences and work together for the best interest of the child, then the court will have to intervene. Both parties will need a child custody attorney to represent them and fight their case in court.
A child custody battle can be messy, complicated, and drawn out. It can also put the children in a traumatic and challenging situation. Despite the state of their personal relationship, it would be very beneficial if both parents put the children first. (This is not always the case in high conflict, complicated cases.)
If you're going through a divorce or facing a child custody battle, this infographic can help you educate yourself and understand the basics of child custody so that you and your ex-partner can work out the best possible child custody set-up for the sake of the children.
About The Author
Sam Mazella is the Marketing Director of The Peterson Law Firm. Located in 4700 S Mill Ave #5 Tempe, AZ 85282, they are the go-to practice when facing divorce, child custody, child support and financial crisis. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and camping trips with his family and friends.