In a recent interview, top family law and divorce attorney Daryl Weinman, founding partner at Weinman & Associates in Austin, TX, explained how courts determine whether an award of primary custody versus sole custody would be appropriate. —
For more information please visit https://www.weinmanfamilylaw.com
When asked for a comment, she said, "Dissolving a marriage is not reason enough for divorce courts to give all child-rearing responsibilities to one parent. The presumption under the law is that one parent should be the primary custodian, while the other parent still retains nearly equal rights. However, there are certain factors that the courts will consider when arriving at a decision to award sole custody to only one parent."
The most significant factor that judges in custody cases consider is how both parents have reared their children prior to the separation.
"The courts look at how active each parent was in the basics of raising a child such as waking them up in the morning, getting them dressed, preparing breakfast, taking them to school, playing with them, helping them with homework, scheduling activities, taking them to medical and dental appointments, among other things," she said.
These issues will further help determine a custody arrangement that allows each parent to continue fulfilling the roles they played pre-divorce in order to maintain the status quo for the child as much as possible.
Parents who have a history of addiction or abuse are not likely to be granted primary custody or even standard visitation rights.
"Evidence that one parent is a drug or sex addict or has a violent temper, for example, could render a court to determine that the parent is unfit for child-rearing, at least at the time of the divorce. This is particularly true for parents who have not attempted to seek help or some sort of course of treatment for their problems," she said.
Another variable taken into consideration for child custody is the picture of the future post-divorce.
“In crafting a child custody order, judges will take historical factors into account, but they will also consider new circumstances. These new life circumstances can be broken down into where the child will attend school, the employment and work hours of both parents, a new residence, who else will be residing in the new household, childcare arrangements, and support from extended family.”
Weinman further added, "In all these areas, the judges will place emphasis on both stability and continuity, as well as any other factors that are in the best interest of the child. So, for instance, the court might view a child continuing at the same school more favorably than transferring to another district."
For a child over the age of 12, the child’s preference can also play a role in whether or not a court decides to transfer primary parental responsibilities.
When asked to explain further, Weinman said, "A child's preference is not the be-all and end-all in a custody suit and it is a common misconception that an older child can simply choose where they want to live. That said, a teenager’s opinion of where they should live will be considered by the court and could tip the balance if the court believes the opinion is based on mature and rational reasons, and not coercion or bribery by one parent."
Source URL: http://RecommendedExperts.biz
Release ID: 88977649