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What is a Child Custody Evaluation?

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

A child custody evaluation is where a person from the court or from child services will go into both homes of the parents. During this time they will watch the parents interact with the children and how the home atmosphere is. From their evaluation, the custodial parent will be determined by what is best for the child.

You will talk to a lot of people about your life and personal things. They will asses your finances. They will look at your legal past and even talk to your families. All of this is to determine which home is best for the child.

In court, in will not matter what you think is be best for the child. The courts will decide which will be best for the child. The court will decide if you can meet your child’s needs.
They will talk to you children and find out what you’re children think of their situation, if they are old enough. Let your children say what they want and to not interfere with what they say. It is best to be honest. The courts will asses both parent’s strong points and their weakest.

The person doing to interviews will remain neutral. You cannot convince them of anything and they will note your behavior. The person doing the interviews will have at least a master’s degree in family studies and or psychology. This is because they have to do a mental evaluation on everyone who is involved with the child.

If during the evaluation you slam your ex-spouse or try to downgrade him just to get custody of your children, then you are not thinking of your children. You are trying to hurt your ex-spouse and you are being very selfish.

Remember, this evaluation is set up to provide to the court the information they find on if you can provide what the children need. You will have to have room in your home for the children; you should interact with your children well, and also show that you provide a warm and loving home for your children. This is not always an easy decision especially when both parents would make a perfect home for the children.

If you are not satisfied with the end results of your evaluation ask for another. They can last 6 months to a year. This is to get the best picture of you and your behavior.

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Visitation Schedules

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

Visitation schedules are made after the final ruling in a custody trial.  The schedules should revolve around everyone’s needs. Mothers and fathers each have different needs along with the children.  Psychologists recommend the following based off children’s age, infants only need 2-3 hours to build a bond with the other parent every 3 days.  Overnights are too traumatic for infants.  Children who are only one should go once a week.  18 month olds only need one day plus one night, 3 to 3 years only need two days plus one night. Elementary aged children should go every weekend and teenagers should go every other weekend. Teenagers also have schedules so you’ll have to communicate with them. Parents need to arrange things so they stay consistent and fair. Everyone should share the holidays

Children need consistent life styles so that they don’t become overwhelmed or confused. Now that the family is broken down, things will become harder for them. By keeping up with the visitations you will limit the stress in their lives and in yours.  Children should be allowed to see each parent when they want to if at all possible.  When they become old enough to ask they will. Never try to get in the way of you ex’s and children’s visits with each other. It may lead to more court and you’ll lose more money over it. Children do not need to hear their parents bickering over when they want to see the kids.

Grandparents will want to see the children too! Make sure that each grandparent gets to see the kids when they want to. Call them and write letters to them about the kids. This way you can remind them that the children do want to see them and they can come get them anytime.

Your children have a lot of stress as it is and they do not need to hear mom and dad fighting over who gets to see who when.  It is important that you have good communication with your former spouse.  If you do not have that, all else will fail.  Your children love the both of you and the both of you love them. Make sure you stick with what you say you’re going to do with the kids and if something comes up. Let them know! You children need the both of you in their lives and it will be hard for them to do this. So make it easer for them even though it will be hard for you.

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Types of Child Custody

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

There are a lot of types of child custody. Each one is determined by the judge by what they find in the parents, the parents capabilities as a parent. There are five types to be exact these types are legal custody, physical custody, sole custody, joint custody and birds nest custody.

Legal custody means that the parent can choose what school their child attends, where they live, their religion and the child’s medical care. In many states, the courts will grant joint legal custody which means both parents have a say in their child’s life. Both of them will be able to make important decisions for their child’s well being. If you share custody with your ex but exclude them from any decision making, they can take you back to court and you may face jail time and or pay big fines.

Physical custody means that a parent has the right for the child to live with them in their house. The courts can grant joint physical custody if they find that both parents will spend a good amount of time with their children. The court asks that the homes are close to each other and that it does not cause too much stress on the children. This will allow for the children to have a somewhat normal routine.

Sole custody means that only one parent can have the children. The other parent cannot have the children at anytime unless supervised by a legal person. A lot of states are moving away from this because of fear that the child does not see enough of both parents.
The parent makes all of the decisions alone when the have sole custody of the children.
Sole custody comes about when the other parent has been deemed unworthy to see their children because of harm they may cause to their children or because of any type of addiction. They either are unfit because of the choices they make, or they are an abusive person and have had a known past of hurting people. Courts will not hesitate to give one parent sole custody of the children because the other parent is unfit.

Joint custody means that the parents don’t live with each other but are both good parents. They each can make the decisions for the greater good of the children. Parents can choose to see their children when they want. They can have them for 1 day or up to 6 months if they choose.

The bird’s nest custody is when the parents share the same house but move out when it’s the other parents turn to see the children. For example, dad’s turn is next so he will move back into the house and mom will go to another home she has. Both parents have two homes. This is to keep children together and in the same environment.

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The Importance of Temporary Custody

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

Temporary Custody can happen for many reasons and situations and most often is part of many divorce and legal separation proceedings. So what is the Importance of Temporary Custody and what does it all mean you might be asking yourself? Its important to know that the states and government have and interest in assuring that the children are still going to be properly supported especially in situations where a couple want to separate and not file for a divorce right away. This temporary custody order handed down by a court will usually decide who will take care of the child during the separation and who will need to pay child support until they either get a divorce or rejoin back together.

Every situation is different however and here are some common reasons and circumstances for temporary custody to take place. If you have separated from your spouse you may not have lived in the state long enough to meet the resident requirements too legally file for a divorce which is usually 6 months to a year so they will enact a order of  Temporary Custody till you meet the time before a divorce filling.

Often time couples have gotten separated and are confused and can’t decide if divorce is what they both really want, so to protect your children’s rights regarding custody, visitation, and support an order will be issued. Many times a spouse will just walk out leaving you with all the bills and responsibilities and a temporary custody order can help make sure that the spouse has to help in taking care of the children and bills and full fill their obligations they are responsible for.

Temporary Custody can cure the problem you hear about all the time where a couple separates and the spouse who has the child or children with hold visitation out of spite or vindictive motives, and additionally can solve the issue where a spouse has promised to send you money to help support your child, but does not honor their words and those checks just never seem shows up or the amount is always less that it should be.

To often in separations you hear a spouse worry about letting the other spend time with the child for a fear that they might not bring them back or will leave state will them. If there is an order in place by a court for Temporary Custody this will help protect the child from this type of action and make a parent who selects this type of action suffer the legal punishment for this type of act. There are other reasons for Temporary Custody such as by agreements by the couple or handed down by courts for observations and determinations.

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Move Away Cases (Relocation)

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

So you and your spouse have separated and have gone through some type of custody battle for your child, now one wants to move away.  There are a thousand questions streaming through your head, what you should do, how should you do this, and how should you go about doing that.  The best bet in any case is to always get a lawyer if you have any questions and not go about this by yourself.  In some states, you’ll have to agree to this move for anything to even happen, but in most states you won’t have too much of chance if they think it’s best for the child.

Most courts will always look at the child’s attachment to their surroundings and look at if the move will in anyway benefit the child.  The best way to avoid this is to include a relocation clause in the custody agreement.  Simply place a limit on the distance that the person with custody can move away.  Most courts will allow the person with custody a cushion on how far away they can move, but this can differ according to the judge you get.  It should always be about the best interest of the child though, which most judges understand and will act accordingly. 
 
If a parent with custody over a child just ups and moves away things become very hard.  Not only can they run for quite a while without any trace but you also don’t know what is going to happen to the children, their mental psyche will also be damaged.  They can also face charges if they are found.  The issue of moving should be left alone if there are no big things that cause the issue, such as a stalking parent or even a dangerous situation for the custody parent.  The cases always take up a lot of court time and will cost plenty of money.  For these reasons you should only think about moving away if you have a big reason too.  Otherwise you’ll just cause heartache to everyone in the child’s life and the child. 

Most lawyers will advise you on this during the custody battle, make a plan if one of the parents wants to move away, especially the parent with custody.  If the parent without custody moves away they would lose their visitation right.  If the parent with custody wants to move out they would have to get permission from the parent without custody.

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Joint Custody – Advantages and Disadvantages

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

You may be considering joint custody but you are wondering if it is really the best for you and your children. Every divorce is different as is every family and reason for divorce. Joint custody can and will work if both parents really make an effort to put their children first.

Advantage of joint custody include the chance for the children to keep the binding relationship they already posses with both parents. With joint custody, neither father nor mother is left out of rearing their children and spending quality time with them. It also gives the other parent some relief from being a full time mom and dad. The best reasons are of course that the children will still receive discipline, love and guidance from both parents equally.

With joint custody, there are no custody battles as long as you both can learn to compromise when it comes to the children. You will not have to worry about the non-custodial parent showing the child with presents to earn their love, and the children will also not be able to use one parent against the other as much, since both parents are in agreement over the rules that have been established.
Joint custody also helps the children in the fact that they are not losing a parent or being rejected by one parent. Since, the custody will be shared equally the children understand that both parents love them and want to be a part of their life.

The disadvantages may come as a surprise to some parents. The children may wish for more stability than they are getting by spending half a year one place and half a year another. According to where the parents live, children may be missing their friends, disrupting school activities, and even longing for their belongings left behind. The age of the children has a lot to do with types of problems. Younger children may miss a favorite toy or blanket, while the school age children may not get to be in the games of the little league team. Middle school and high school age can miss out on their school dances, performing in the band, or other after school programs.

As you can see, joint custody can work but it may not be what is right for your family. If the children are old enough and it is possible, the entire family should sit down and discuss the situation including both parents. The idea of joint custody is to give children security and love from both parents without infringing upon the needs of the children to grow, make friends and adjust to the divorce.

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How to Prepare for a Custody Evaluation

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

To prepare for a custody evaluation; you must first asses what is best for your children. Ask yourself what would be best for them and not you. It may be hard when you desire your children to stay with you, to look at the situation objectively. Be sure they know that you both love them very much and that you’re just trying to figure out what is best for them. Realize that the court will only do what is best for the child and the child only! They will assess which parent can take care of them psychologically and emotional along with physically. It will not be about you and your spouse’s problems.

A person sent by the courts will come and talk to everyone in the household. They will be trying to asses what is best for the children. But they will be asking you some questions and watching the way you live and act. The best way to go about this is be honest with them and yourself for your kid’s sake. Be sure to let your family speak with them. Your children will have to talk to them at some point so tell your kids that they just want to have a nice chat with them and tell them to be honest. Do not dictate what your kids say.
Talk to your spouse about this and see where they stand. If you know what they’re thinking and feeling you can do what’s best for you children. You will have to talk to them about what is happening and be sure to tell them that both of you love them and they will still have both parents, only living separately. This will be very confusing for them.

Be sure you prepare for the court battle ahead. You want to present yourself as a loving parent and not someone trying to kill their spouse.

Your family will be more than likely involved in the custody hearing.  Do not tell them what to say or ask them to say certain things. It will only backfire on you and hurt you in court. Be sure to tell them to be honest and show them the person you really are good or bad. This is for your children’s future.

Be sure you have a good lawyer and one that you can talk with honestly. You want to prepare for the long road ahead because these assessments can last from 6 months to a year!

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How to Prepare for a Child Custody Hearing

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

Preparing for a child custody hearing is not an easy task. You will need a good lawyer you who view to be fit and up to the task. But you can only talk to the lawyer about you case if you have a budget. It would be best to hire a lawyer to represent you and your case. Be open with the lawyer and tell them what you want to see happen in your case. They will ask you questions and you must be honest.

You will need some character witnesses. These are people who know you will and have known you for awhile. They have witnessed you with your children at normal times. You will have to tell them when the hearing is and help them prepare what they feel is important for the judge to hear. Do not dictate what they say to the judge.

You will need some important documents with you. You lawyer will tell you exactly what documents you need. It varies from state to state.

In court, everyone will have the chance to speak and ask each other questions. You need to prepare yourself for what you want to say and how you should respond. Court is stressful enough let alone going for the sake of your child. You should try to remain calm. Planning ahead will be your key to your success

If you tell the judge what is it you want and why you should have it, and make all your points clear and summarized. You will be understood by the judge more clearly.

Be sure to be on time for the trial and be prepared for court to last awhile because your case my not be the first one called, you may end up being there for quit some time. Dress nicely; dress as if you were going to church or a job interview. Make sure you know where the courtroom is. Be sure to check in at the clerk’s desk. Make sure all your paperwork is in order and neat.

When you enter the courtroom go to where you’re lawyer is and face the judge. Face the judge when he asks you to stand. When the judge asks you to speak address him as “your honor”

When the trial starts, the judge will ask you to speak and it is very vital to your case that you do not argue or be rude with the judge. If he asks you questions that you don’t understand don’t be afraid to say so. Speak clearly and use words you understand. Stay calm no matter what happens during the case and be sure to make you point heard.
Do not talk about the case to anyone outside and remain professional. Most of all be sure to make it clear that you love your children and say why you want to have them in your life.

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How to Co-Parent with Your Ex-Spouse

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

You may think this is an impossible feat and it may be according to how well you both communicate and if you have the desire to put your differences aside for the sake of your children. There are a few basic rules that can help you co-parent with your ex-spouse if you are both agreeable as described below.

The very first thing you should remember is that you will not always agree with your ex-spouse when it comes to your children, nor will they agree with you. But, you must agree to not let this disagreements hinder the parenting of both of you. Comprise is always the best solution, as long as the children are not suffering.

To be good co-parents you both must sit down together and plan a parenting schedule so to speak. Remember, if with a schedule things do come up and you both will have to be willing to work together when problems arise. You will need to decide who will take the children to the doctor and schedule the appointments, who does the shopping for school supplies, goes to PTA meetings, and even who will attending the after school activities. These can be shared, so each parent can enjoy seeing their child succeed or being there for them at the doctor. When something happens and you can meet your obligation, contact the other parent immediately. Respect that each of you do have your own life, but that the children do come first.

The number one rule is never argue where the children can hear. And number two is never slam the other parent. Your children love both parents and should. Back stabbing the other parent if they have an emergency or some reason not to attend a function will show disrespect to that parent. You will eventually have your children either disliking you for your harsh words or disliking the other parent because of what you have said. Either way, this can cause problems that you neither one want or deserve.

Your relationship may be through, but you both will be parents for the rest of your life. You need to be involved with your children’s disappointments, achievements and be there for them. When decisions need to be made such as summer camp, disciplinary actions, or other problems, if at all possible you both need to talk about these together. If it is an emergency situation, call the other parent immediately.

Have the same set of rules at both houses. Bedtimes, homework times, dinner times, and even what type of television shows and movies they should watch should be the same. Both parents must stick to these rules.

With these basic rules you can successfully co-parent with your ex-spouse if you both desire to compromise, and love and care for your children.

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How is Child Custody Determined?

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

When parents can not agree who should have custody of their children the court must decide. Many times, parents can decide with any involvement of the courts. But, there are times when parents can not agree and then the court must make the decision based on where they believe the children will be better cared for.

When you go to have to go to court for custody of your children, the judge and state with look at a lot of things. They will look at both you and you spouse’s capabilities for raising the children. The court will look at your mental and physical health. They will look and see if you can meet your child’s needs. The court will look at what your child wants if they are old enough to understand. The court will look at each possibility the children will have in either home. Where they will go to school and how they will be living. By looking at all these things, they will try to see which parent can give the most of their time and love, and which parent can provide the best for the child’s overall health. If one parent is granted sole custody, they will have to make every last decision that affects that child. Sole custody means that parent is the only parent that can make decisions regarding the child.  If the judge grants joint custody of the child, both parents will be making the decisions for the child or children. Parents will have to set times and days where they will share the children and make sure the children see both of their parents evenly.

Both parents will go to trial and the judge will inform them of their duties as a parent and the state will make sure the parents can uphold their duties. A person from the court may be sent out to the family’s home to check up on how each parent and child interacts. This person will determine the mental and emotional state of each person in the house. If this person finds that there are problems in the house, it will hurt the parent’s chances of getting custody of their children. Be prepared for the visits and for the trial date.

The court can decide who should receive custody during the divorce proceedings, if at a later date either parent may file for custody of their children if their circumstances change.

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