For divorcing parents, child custody is a major concern. It can also be a complex and confusing matter.
It is no wonder then that there are many misconceptions and questions surrounding it.
1. Do courts automatically award full custody to mothers?
A common belief is that courts favor mothers. While this was true in the past, now courts legally consider both parents on equal ground regardless of gender, though American University Radio reports that fathers may receive some favoritism in custody cases. Courts must legally factor in multiple considerations to decide what is in the children’s best interests.
2. Do all custody cases end up in court?
Litigation is not a requirement in divorce and custody cases. Parents may choose to do collaborative divorce or mediation instead, both of which may help save them money and time and reach a more satisfactory agreement for both parties. Generally, these cases go to court when there is a great deal of conflict.
3. Do older children pick who they live with?
Judges generally consider the children’s preference if they consider them old enough and mature enough. However, the ultimate decision of who is the custodial parent remains with the judges, and not with the children. Courts may also factor in why the children want to live with one parent over the other in their deliberations though.
Child custody is a matter that judges take seriously. They factor in a variety of considerations when deciding who gets primary custody, including what the children want if they are mature enough, rather than one single variable.