How the courts decide a child's custody

Laura Wasser, Family Law Attorney, shares advice for parents on how courts generally decide a child's custody and what the rulings typically mean in reality
Divorce And Children | How Courts Decide Custody
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How the courts decide a child's custody

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In terms of child custody, status quo, again, really, really is the norm. If you have been the only parent that this 6-year-old has known for the entirety of his or her life, it is very unlikely that the court is going to give a half-time custody to dad. That being said, courts very much want kids to have relationships with both parents. So while joint custody generally means fifty-fifty, it doesn’t to the court. What it means to the court there are two parents who are actually exercising custodial time with the child, no matter what the percentages are. So if dad now, 6 years later, wants to be a part of the picture, the court will probably implement some way to make him a part of the picture in a reasonable manner that gives your child a chance to get to know his father, start exercising time with him, maybe during the day, maybe a couple days a week for visits and implement him into your child’s life to a point where it’s eventually appropriate for this child to be spending more time. If it’s an issue for you to get to that fifty-fifty, then you really need to tell the co-parent, “We need to take it slow, I don’t know if this is going to work.” By the time you work up to that kind of custody scheme, your kid may be 12 and really wanting to spend more time with his dad. And that could be something that at 12 would be very acceptable to you, especially if it’s a girl and they’re like 13.
ALL PARENTS, Divorce, Co-Parenting

Laura Wasser, Family Law Attorney, shares advice for parents on how courts generally decide a child's custody and what the rulings typically mean in reality

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Laura Wasser

Family Law Attorney

Laura has been a family law practitioner for nearly 20 years. Her practice focuses on the separation and reconfiguration of families. Being a child of divorce, and having personal and professional experience in this field, she believes that she can do better for the children of today and help with an oxymoron: a “good divorce”. Laura is the author of It Doesn't Have to be That Way: How to Divorce Without Destroying Your Family or Bankrupting Yourself.

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