How do we Decide Custody of our Children?

Legal Issues Involved in Child Custody

Often, one of the most difficult decisions to be made is who will get custody of the children involved in a divorce.  Most of the time both parents feel they are the best place for the children. For the sake of the children, try to come to an agreement without fighting and bitterness.  Your children love both of you in the same way and you will only hurt them if you fight over where they should live.

There is no easy way to decide where the children should live.  If they are teenagers, and both parents are capable of caring for them, it would be a good idea to ask them where they would like to live.  Most will not want to change school districts and may choose to stay in the family home, if that is an option.

As long as there are no reasons why a parent cannot care for the children, whoever will provide them with the stability they need is the best choice.  If the wife is going to keep the house, staying with her might be the wisest choice as they will have less interruption in their daily routine.  This is not to say that dad should not see his kids as often as possible.  It is only to keep the children in a familiar place while they heal from the divorce.

For most states, parents can have joint custody of the children.  One will be designated the residential parent (where the child lives most of the time) but both parents will be involved in all decisions pertaining to the child.  School and medical records will be available for mom and dad.  This can be a great option as the child will not feel that one parent is more “in charge” than the other one.

Remember, even if the children live with mom, as long as dad pays child support, he is entitled to claim the children as dependents on alternate years.  This will need to be stated clearly in your divorce agreement.  The non-residential parent will also be responsible for part of the children’s medical and dental expenses.

Deciding who gets custody of the children is a painful choice.  Both parents will want the kids as much as possible.  Wherever the children can get the most stable home life is where they should live with the parents sharing custody and making decisions for the children together.

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