Figuring out a child custody arrangement that everyone can agree to is one of the most difficult parts of divorce. However, taking it one step at a time can make the entire process easier to understand and work through. Here are the basic questions to answer to form the basis of your custody agreement:
The #1 concern for the court is the well-being of the child. However, parents may have different views of what is best for their child in the long-term. Mediators, attorneys, and the court will evaluate a number of factors to determine what is best for the child, including:
Working together as parents is the best way to ensure that both sides are happy with the result. However, you are not required to go through this process alone; using a mediator or family law attorney can speed up the process and help you work through points of disagreement. During informal negotiations, both parents can work together to develop a parenting plan that everyone is on board with. Once the plan is developed, a judge can sign it to make it a legally binding agreement.
If the parents are unable to agree on a solution, the custody decision will be made in court. The family court judge will take a wide range of factors into account (which are discussed further below) and then make a decision based on the best interests of the child.