Divorce brings immense psychological stress for the family, but no parent should be willing to let it impact their children. But the disputes materializing into separation and finally the dissolution of marriage often trickle down and affect the children and possibly make them a part of the fight over their custody. In such a scenario, no matter who wins, the children lose one of their parents, their cheerful emotional state, and their playful childhood. However, you have an option to keep your children away from the stressful legal proceeding and secure their future while giving their childhood a chance to flourish and rejoice despite the pain of divorce.
Instances Where Children are Brought Into the Legal Battle
· Prolonged and Contested Divorce Proceedings
When a divorce proceeding is hotly contested with the aim to destroy the other spouse, it creates a sort of legal battle that ultimately impacts the entire family, including the children. Similarly, prolonged legal fights over property, custody, and maintenance can engulf friends, siblings, children, and relatives.
· Child Custody Issues
Child custody proceedings are obviously the area where children are brought directly into forefront of divorce fight. The emotional attachment with children spurs spouses to challenge each other which can rob the children of their peace and bliss. Often the fight for custody turns into a battle for ego impacting all stakeholders.
· Ongoing Visitation Rights and Issues
Acrimonious divorce fights can continue after the divorce in the form of ongoing disputes regarding visitation with the children. Though the court judgment and orders are considered final, spouses often fight to block access, during and after the divorce, and, in the process, forget to respect what the child desires and needs.
· Fight Over Property, Finances
The fight over property and finances has three dimensions – the division of property, maintenance obligations, and issues of child support. While child custody and visitation issues are officially separate from financial issues, often times one or both parties allow financial issues to guide their decisions with respect to the custody and visitation battle.
Things To Focus During Child Custody Cases
1. Always remember bitter battles are no solution to the child custody question. The court rules in the favor of a spouse only when, it is satisfied about the protection of the best interest of the child. Therefore, consider allowing negotiation while the legal proceeding is going on.
2. Physical custody does not end the paternity or maternity rights. It is unviable for one to keep the child completely away from the divorced partner. Custody entails the primary right to provide care and make decisions on behalf of the child. It does not mean the non-custodial parent loses his right to access.
3. The child resides with the custodial parent, but both father and mother continue to have the rights of natural guardians, either restricted or unrestricted. Any decision regarding the child must be approved by both parents.
4. The custody of a tender age children may go to mother, but the Court will give more deference to the opinion of the child matters as he or she ages. No parent can claim uncontested right over the child.
5. It is not the economic condition, but ability to provide children a safe and secure living that can foster the child’s development that wins child custody.
6. The property of money inherited by the child does not go to the custodial parent, who at best becomes the caretaker without exclusive right until the child turns 18 years. Also, having the child does not guarantee unlimited money in child support or maintenance. In states, such as Illinois, family law provision has set certain guidelines for the court to reflect on while making a decision on child support.