Child Custody

What Moms Need to Know About Child Custody & Child Support

Chris Wise
December 14, 2023
5 min read

Separation from your partner comes with many changes – not only for you but for the family as well. The process has a lot of moving pieces, and those pieces become more complicated when kids are involved. When parents split up, children face a lot of changes in the way that they live. You'll not only need to determine where they'll reside but also how that residency will be funded. 

If you're in a separation situation in which children are involved, you likely have many questions regarding child support and child custody. Understanding all the facets of child custody and child support can be difficult, but here's a place to get started:

There are different types of child custody.

If you've never been through a separation before, there's likely a lot you need to learn about child custody. Primarily, you should be knowledgeable about the two types of custody that you'll need to address in the process.

Physical custody is, as its naming implies, where and with whom the children live. This includes issues such as parenting time and visitation rights. Legal custody, however, determines who has the right to make decisions about the child's life – education, religion, financial decision, etc. In both cases, the court has the ability to enter an order for either sole custody or joint custody. 

Whether in court or not, the choice made will determine the parent's new role in their children's lives. When it comes to custody, the most crucial factor to consider is the children's wellbeing. As courts consider the requests, they will always decide what they think is in the child's best interest. 

Put the children first!

When making decisions regarding child custody and child support, you need to figure out the solution that best serves the needs of the children. In terms of physical custody, ask yourself, "Who is better able to provide the best care for the children?" – whether that means safety, comfort, school district, or healthcare access. Parents can make this decision through mediation, open dialogue with their former partner, or through legal proceedings.

Suppose your custody decision is in the hands of the court. In that case, they will closely monitor the parents to assess legal decision-making abilities and decide based upon their observations. 

Know the misconceptions. 

As a mother, you might have the misconception that the court will favor your position over that of the father. This is not the case, however. Decisions made in court are always catered to the best interest and fundamental needs of the child. 

Gender – and other factors such as race, physical ability, or financial status – are not characteristics that a court will use to determine the wellbeing of children. In addition, you need to understand that fathers have every ability to be the primary caregiver for their children and can pursue full custody of their children. 

Be willing to cooperate.

Divorce or separation is hard on everyone involved. Conflicts between the parents have lasting effects on children, and that is why it is best to cooperate with one another if at all possible. Child custody decisions do not always have to be chaotic. If you and your former partner are able to look past issues and work toward the best possible solution for your children, that is the best avenue.

You have other options other than going to trial.

Court proceedings, especially trials, can be costly and time-consuming. And the effects of open conflict can have long-lasting effects on the children involved in the process. So, before going straight to that option, you should know that alternatives to making your decision can ease the proceedings portion of the action.

Parents can work with a mediator to find an agreeable avenue for the aftermath of the separation. In this process, both parties will need to cooperate and have open communication to make decisions on what's next for the child. And if the process is done well, parents can often make better, more personalized, decisions for their child's long-term wellbeing.

If court is the only option, choose the right child custody lawyer

If court is the only option, you don't have to go through it alone. When you encounter separation with children, Wise & Associates can help you establish a plan of action. They're passionate about the welfare of children and can assist in determining how to proceed with your separation efforts.  

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