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What Does a Child Custody Visitation and Divorce Proposal Look Like?

The Marble Team

What Does a Child Custody Visitation and Divorce Proposal Look Like?

Family Law
| 5 min
6 minutes

Divorce is a tough time for everyone involved, but it can be even more complicated when children are involved because of the critical decisions that must be made concerning their future. Between them, the parents must decide where their kids will live, who pays for their upkeep, who gets to make crucial decisions on their upbringing, and much more. 

Divorcing parents will soon become familiar with all sorts of new terminologies, like sole and joint custody, visitation rights, maintenance, and more. Moreover, they have to make mission-critical decisions about their children’s future, either through a collaborative approach or by going to the courts.

To help you through this critical element of your divorce, we’ve put together this simple guide, explaining all the legal jargon and outlining what you can do to make things as easy as possible for your kids. Read on for more practical and helpful advice.

 

There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Answer 

In any divorce involving children, there’s four key areas: (1) physical custody (where the child lives), (2) legal custody (who gets a say in how the child is raised), (3) visitation rights (access for the non-custodial parent), and (4) maintenance (who pays for the child’s upbringing). Physical and legal custody may be sole or joint, and maintenance may or may not be payable. 

Parents can negotiate a settlement between themselves, but if they can’t agree, the case proceeds to court. That may prove to be expensive for you, your spouse, or both of you. 

Every divorce is unique, and even when there are similarities, there’s no guarantee that what happened in one scenario will occur in another. Every case is different.

 

Deciding Visitation Comes Second

Only after deciding where the child will be living - and who has chief custody - can you address visitation rights for the non-custodial parent.

If your case has gone to court, it’s worth remembering that the judge will be guided by whatever’s in the child’s best interests. The courts generally consider that the child should have a secure and robust relationship with both parents.

In exceptional circumstances - like domestic violence - the courts may deny visitation rights to the abusive parent. Occasionally, there may also be no need for visitation rights, for example, where the parents share custody of the child on a week on/week off basis.

 

Can Visitation Be Arranged Without The Courts?

It’s perfectly feasible for parents to agree on both custody and visitation rights without going to court. Indeed, it’s usually better for all concerned if you and your spouse can agree that way, for example, through the use of mediation.

Sadly, however, there are times where that’s extremely difficult or simply not possible. But as far as they can, parents should go the extra mile to agree on such arrangements without going to court. Your children will thank you for it. They suffer enough without seeing their parents squabbling over access in the courts.

 

The Benefits of Arranging Visitation With Your Spouse Directly

There are clear and obvious benefits to arranging visitation with your spouse directly. It’s quicker, less expensive. and more flexible than going to court, plus you maintain control over the final agreement. And that’s before you even consider the advantages for your children.

 

Maintain Communication For The Sake of Your Children

Although you might not want to have any sort of relationship with your ex, your children most likely do. It’s not fair on children to make them choose between parents. Remember, they love you both.

Suppose you can maintain - or even fake - a civil relationship with your ex. It may make things a whole lot easier for your children. But, do you want them to grow up believing that they’re the reason that Mom and Dad are arguing?

 

You Both Know What’s Best For Your Kids

In a court, judges must issue their ruling based on what’s in the child's best interests. But the simple truth is this: you, the parents, know your kids - and what’s best for them - far better than the most exemplary judge in the land.

When you go to court, you hand over the responsibility for the verdict to a highly knowledgeable, vastly experienced legal professional - but someone who doesn’t know your kids. 

What’s more, the judge’s ruling is issued in black and white, and you must abide by the decision. Even if you’re unhappy with the verdict, it may be impossible to overturn. And an appeal could take a long time, with no guarantee of changing the decision.

So do what’s best for your kids, and try and reach an agreement without the need for a potentially contentious, expensive, and drawn-out court case.

 

There’s Less Disruption To Your Kids’ Way of Living

It can be the hardest thing to do, but try and see things from your children’s perspective as you navigate your way through your divorce. Your kids weren’t responsible for the separation, but they have to live with the consequences. So try and think how they feel.

Do whatever you can to minimize the disruption to their way of living. If that means taking a short-term hit for a long-term gain, then do it. In the long run, you - and more importantly, your children - will be glad you did.

 

How A Family Lawyer Can Assist With Custody

One of the most significant issues with a divorce is that, for most people, everything’s new. Issues that you’d never even considered before suddenly become hugely important. If you’re struggling with that load, a family lawyer can cut through the confusion and explain to you exactly what everything means, including custody.

You can benefit directly from their legal expertise and hands-on knowledge from previous cases. A family lawyer can help you to reach a fair and equitable settlement without the need to go to court. In cases where that’s not possible, a lawyer can guide you through the legal process and advise you on the best strategies to use in court.

 

Bottom Line

Addressing the outlook for your children after a divorce is one of the toughest challenges facing parents who are separating. Fortunately, an experienced lawyer can help you every single step of the way. They can help you to reach the best possible agreement for both you and your kids, either in - or outside - the courts.

 


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