The Truth About Child Custody: Myths Debunked

Divorce is a difficult process, and it can be even harder when children are involved. There are many myths about divorce and child custody, and it can be hard to figure out what is true and what isn't.

This article debunks some of the most common myths about child custody.

You'll Have to Settle Your Custody Case in Court 

Contrary to popular belief, custody cases do not always have to be settled in court. In fact, many families can agree outside of the courtroom through mediation or collaborative law.

Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party helps the two sides to communicate and reach a resolution. Collaborative law is similar, but each party has its own lawyer who is committed to supporting the two sides reach an agreement.

These methods can often be more effective than going to court. That's because they allow families to maintain control over the decision-making process and avoid the stress and expense of litigation. Of course, every family is different, and some may find that going to court is the best option for their situation. But you should know that there are other options available.

Only Parents Can Have Custody Rights

While parents have a legal right to custody of their children, this right is not absolute. There are many circumstances in which other family members may also have valid custody claims.

For example, grandparents may get custody if they show that the child's parents are unfit. They'd need to prove that the child would be better off living with them. In some cases, other close relatives may also be granted custody rights, particularly if they can provide a stable home environment.

Remember that, in most cases, the court will always give preference to the child's biological parents when awarding custody. However, there are circumstances in which this may not be in the child's best interests.

For example, say the child's biological parents cannot provide a safe and nurturing home environment. The court may award custody to another family member who can provide this environment.

Custody Is Based on Who the Child Wants to Live With 

It's a common belief that courts always rule in favour of the child in custody cases, granting custody to the parent that the child wants to live with. However, this is not always the case.

In fact, many states have laws that dictate which parent is presumed to be the child's primary caregiver. And this presumption may be overcome only by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.

Even if the child expresses a preference for one parent over the other, the court may still rule in favour of the primary caregiver. The bottom line is that each custody case is unique. There is no hard and fast rule about who the child will want to live with. The best thing you can do is consult an experienced family law attorney and discuss your specific circumstances.  

Contact a local family lawyer for more info.