How are child custody decisions made?

Sep 09

When child custody decisions need to be made, there are always some important questions that must be asked. If you are considering divorce, or are already in the middle of divorce proceedings, parents will undoubtedly wonder if the child will live with them, or if they will be able to make important decisions about how the child will be brought up. If you are a grandparent or other close relative, you may wonder if you have any visitation rights or  what you may be entitled to when it comes to time with the children.

The answers to these natural questions are usually what child custody discussions are based on, but for many parents, the legal process can be unfamiliar and at times confusing. People always ask, “how are child custody decisions made? Who determines what happens to the child?”.

Generally speaking, child custody issues follow the blueprint of other issues in a divorce, like the separation of property, division of finances, and alimony. Visitation and child custody is usually decided by the parents (if an amicable decision is possible) or will be decided by the court if there is a dispute that cannot be settled otherwise. Attorneys and mediators are often a great source of assistance during this time, so it is important to have an experienced child custody lawyer (like this one in Dallas that we found that has a great website).

If parents are able to reach a negotiated settlement (usually with legal assistance on both sides), the child custody agreement can be put in writing. They can also turn to mediation if it is contentious, and often mediation can help couples reach a fair agreement.

If the parents of the child were not legally married, most state statutes list the mother as the person to be given sole custody of the child, unless the father takes legal action to secure sole custody. It is very difficult for fathers to win custody over the child if they are unwed, but they can often gain visitation rights or some form of custody if they are fit to parent. For unwed parents, it is still advisable to consult with an attorney for assistance with legal questions and forming a custody agreement. The courts may still be brought into the matter if either spouse chooses to take legal action, so it is important to note that the case can still go to court if they wish to pursue action.

Ultimately, the best interests of the child should be taken into account during any divorce or separation, and an attorney may be able to help you understand your legal options and form an agreement that works for both parents and the child in question. Attorneys deal with this every day, so don’t hesitate to contact one if you are considering divorce and want to know more about child custody.


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Why Couples Get Divorced

Aug 04

Divorce can be a life-changer. Aside from the personal hassles, you also have to think about the legalities, like who is going to get custody of the child, how much alimony will be given if granted, and how will the properties be divided. According to the website of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, these are just some of the legal aspects that can be in dispute upon divorce. It can be a legal nightmare. So, before you dive into it, make sure that you think you are doing the right thing.

But why do couples go their separate ways to begin with? There are many reasons why, and they can be a case-to-case basis. But below are some of the most common factors that may trigger a separation.

Getting married for the wrong reasons

Not all legitimate couples have a happily ever after. Many of them get too much problems until they become unsolvable. Those are the understandable kinds of divorces.

But there are others who just marry for the wrong reasons, like trying to cash in from a rich spouse, not wanting to back out just because of how long the couple have been together, marrying just because he or she doesn’t want to grow old alone and so will settle for anyone. Many of these marriages just end with divorce, leaving all parties unhappy.

Disagreeing in financial decisions

Money is a big factor in relationships, especially when couples are already married. They may have more liabilities in the form of mortgages, educational expenses for children, savings, and just expenses for everyday life.

Because it is such a huge factor, it is not surprising that it has been the cause of many divorces, like when the spouses do not agree with saving and spending habits or a spouse not being able to fulfil his or her financial obligations.

Failing to resolve conflicts

All relationships will encounter problems, but not all will handle them well. Some resolve the conflicts through properly communicating with their spouses, lowering their pride, and giving room for compromise. But there are some that will just not budge.

Some problems may not be worth budging for, like adultery and domestic violence, so those cases are understandable. But some divorces occur just because the couples fail to communicate, lower their pride, and compromise, until the problems are too big and they emotionally drift from each other.

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Divorce and credit card debts: Can they go together?

Feb 14

While some couples believe that the only option out of a dysfunctional marriage is a divorce, a few of them are quite hesitant in filing their legal papers because of one thing: credit card debt. Some are apprehensive that when they get divorced, they could bear sole liability of the debt, or at least be ordered to pay larger sums. But according to the lawyers of Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler, proper legal guidance is all what it takes to file for divorce even if in debt.

First, it is important to note that most financial planners would advise that you get out of joint credit card debt first before ending your marriage. This can be done by dividing the debt and paying it off completely, or transferring it to your individual cards. However, for some, these options are not always available.

In the U.S., there are two systems in classifying marital properties and liabilities. Most states implement common law rules, wherein a married person solely owns the property s/he acquired, unless s/he expressly stated that his/her spouse would hold the property jointly. This same legal principle rules for credit card debts: if a married couple acquired credit card debt under his/her name, s/he will be the one to pay for it.

The scenario is different when you are living in a state where community property rules are implemented. In a community property state, any property acquired by married couples during their marriage is considered communal, and should be owned jointly by both. This principle can also be applied to credit card debt, which means any credit card debt incurred by either couple during their marriage are considered shared, and should be paid jointly. However, there is also a possibility that you will not be responsible for a debt incurred by your spouse that did not benefit your marriage in any way.

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Why many Americans are choosing mediation to reach divorce arrangement

Feb 08

Getting out of marriage can be an emotionally-charged experience. The uncertainty of parting ways and living separate lives can be very daunting. However, for some couples whose marriage has completely been torn apart, divorce could be the healthiest option in getting their lives back on track.

The most challenging part in a divorce is obtaining an arrangement that’s beneficial to all parties involved. Deciding who’s going to pay who, who’s going to get what, and who will take care of the kids are almost always the points of contention among divorcing couples. That’s why it is so important for divorcing couples to seek help from a third party that would help them decide what will work best.

A Monmouth divorce mediator will probably be aware of how practical and handy it is for divorcing couples to seek mediation while undergoing divorce. Here are just some of the many reasons why more and more divorcing Americans are seeking help of third-party mediators:

It keeps the costs down

Mediation sessions are far cheaper than a series of legal hearing. Also, lawyers are not required to attend mediation sessions, which can greatly cut legal costs. However, if one spouse insists on attending a mediation session with his/her legal representative, it is advisable that the other party should do the same.

It keeps everything personal

Mediation allows the divorcing couples to do the talking, not the laws. Legal principles have the tendency to be stiff and impersonal, and may give unsatisfactory results. Mediation, on the other hand, gives both couples a chance to arrive at a settlement that’s tailor-fitted to their own needs and circumstances. It also allows the couple, not the court, to control the whole process of settlement.

Mediation is confidential

Because mediation is done between you and your spouse with the help of a third-party mediator, sessions will not go into public record. This would allow both couples to take care of their privacy while dealing with their divorce.

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