Finding Fairness in Legal Custody Matters
Whether you find yourself in a marriage that is failing or a relationship that never quite made it off the ground, if there are child custody determinations to be made, you will want to be involved and engaged throughout the process. If you are still at a stage where you are absorbing this new reality, things can be overwhelming. One thing to keep in mind is that the Court is going to do its best to determine what is in the best interest of the child or children involved. Generally, the most optimal way forward is when all parties are open to an order of joint custody. If two exes can maintain open and respectful lines of communication regarding logistics and scheduling, it is easier on the children and, frankly, less of an emotional burden for both parents in the long run. Establishing respectful communication patterns early is critical in fostering a workable co-parenting environment after a split.
In Delaware, often the best way to determine primary residency, visitation schedules and other responsibilities is through mediation. The Court will ask both parties to complete a Custody, Visitation, and Guardianship Disclosure Report. In it, each respondent will identify their wishes regarding the custody of the child or children and how or if they see parental responsibilities being shared moving forward. This report will also help determine if there are any drug, alcohol, abuse or mental health issues that might influence the Court’s decision. Again, these standards are not in place to foment animosity or rehash old conflicts. Rather, these are methods that the Court relies upon in order to determine the most healthy conditions for a child or children. It is best that parents keep the best interests of their children in mind when responding to questions from the Court.
It is important to note that anything which cannot be amicably worked out by two parents will generally be decided upon by the Court, When the Court hands down its order, it is important that all parties follow it to the letter regardless of any personal opinions of attorneys, judges, exes and/or children. The Court takes seriously any violations of such orders and is often quick to respond when a parent documents a denial of visitation, for example.
It is important to remember that cooler heads always prevail. Custody and visitation are generally the most highly emotional pieces of a breakup, especially when minor children are involved. It is important for parents to hire an experienced family attorney. Call our offices today if you have a question about a child custody matter.