Divorces frequently follow a pattern. However, when children are involved, further precautions and considerations must be made. Expect more conversations with your lawyer concerning child custody, visitation, parenting plans, and child support.
If parents begin to attack one another in order to get custody of their children, the divorce process can become bitter. Character witnesses, testimonials, text messages, and social media posts are all fair game in bitter family court cases, and some ex-partners will go to any length to establish the other is an unfit parent.
It’s important to remember that, unless there are compelling reasons not to, many courts will strive to find a way to give parents joint custody. Above all, they will consider your child’s best interests. If you and your husband can work together with the same goal in mind, you can have a quicker and less painful (to you and your children) divorce.
The following topics may arouse powerful emotions, but they may help you prepare for a divorce case involving little children. Being as prepared as possible may help you and your children understand the changes that will occur.
Divorce with Children: What to Expect
Here’s a breakdown of how a child-centered divorce works. It’s crucial to remember that each state has its unique child custody and visitation rules and terminology.
1) Divorce petition
Child custody and child support will be part of your divorce (your request to start your divorce case).
2) Proclamations of Emergency
If you believe your children are in danger, you can ask the judge for an emergency custody hearing and temporary protection orders.
3) Divorce Settlement Agreement
If you decide on your own, you can include child custody issues in your divorce settlement agreement and ask the court to accept it. A judge will decide if it is in the best interests of your children. Everything, from who your child will live with to who will make educational and healthcare decisions for them, will be up to you to decide.
Some states and counties require parents to attend mediation for custody and visitation. During mediation, you and your husband will meet with a neutral mediator who will help you come to an agreement on child custody, parenting plans, and visitation.
5) Court appearances
Your case will be heard by a court if mediation fails or is not necessary, and you are unable to reach an agreement on your own. You will be given the chance to make your case. A guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent your child’s interests, and the judge may consult mental health professionals to determine what is best for your child.
You may have multiple hearings during your divorce. If the court takes a long time to make a permanent custody judgment, the court will issue temporary custody and support orders to which you and your husband must adhere.
6) Decree/Order of Divorce
A court will decide on custody, parenting time/visitation, and child support after your divorce is finalized.
7) Appeals and Modifications of Divorce Decrees
If you disagree with a court order, you have options for appealing it. Similarly, if anything substantial occurs in your life that affects custody or child support, you can file a request to change child support or child custody with the court (with the court).
Is it possible to get a divorce without a battle if I have children?
You can have an uncontested divorce with children if you and your ex-partner agree on the following points.
- Physical custody (which is normally split 50/50)
- Parenting time (does one parent have primary custody of the children on weekends or during holidays?)
- Responsibilities as a parent (driving to school activities, vacations, purchasing clothing, paying for insurance or cell phones, etc.)
- Who is in charge of the most important decisions? (Education, healthcare, religion, and so on.)
- Child support payments and a payment schedule
- All other issues of the divorce, such as property division and alimony, must also be agreed upon.
Getting agreement on these matters during such a stressful period is challenging. Some “unofficial” interactions may be required to reach an agreement. Once you’ve both agreed on the plan, you can go ahead and make it official without having to go to court or mediation.
Many people choose to have their divorce agreements examined by lawyers before submitting them to the court since there are so many factors to consider when it comes to child custody. It’s known as limited scope representation.
Is it possible to appeal a court order if I have children?
Child support appeals, changes in your financial circumstances, unsafe living situations, and requests for more or less time with your children are generally accepted by most judges. In these cases, an attorney can advise you on the best course of action to take as well as the likely outcome.
It’s common for parents to renegotiate child support and custody arrangements when their circumstances change, because it’s difficult to predict what life will be like after a divorce. When your preschooler becomes 16, wants a car, and needs car insurance, the agreement that worked for them will very certainly need to be revised.
During Divorce, Prioritize Your Children
According to study, divorce has an impact on children. Even if you try to keep your children out of the divorce, this is a major change for them, and they’ll sense your emotions. Divorce might cause your child to feel isolated from their friends or at school, or it can cause them to have negative feelings toward one parent or the other. It may restrict the amount of time and attention that each parent can devote to their children.
An experienced divorce lawyer can advise you on the best ways to ensure your children’s financial security while also helping them feel secure in their new lives (such as keeping the family home). The purpose of your county judge is to ensure that everyone is looking out for your child’s best interests.
While the transition will be difficult for your children, you can try to make it easier for them while maintaining your parental rights. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Judges pay great attention to the children while deciding custody.
The judge’s job in a divorce involving children is to determine what is in the child’s best interests. When it comes to the following situations, the judge is more likely to put your child’s needs ahead of yours:
- Maintaining relationships between siblings, half-siblings, step-siblings, adoptive siblings, and other family members.
- Choosing a child custody or co-parenting schedule that benefits one parent over the other (most courts presume 50/50 child custody)
- Choosing a higher or lower child support level than you expected
- You should reassess custody or financial orders if you or your ex-spouse have remarried or have other children.
- When choosing between two residences, choose the one with the most stable environment.
- Keeping your child’s exposure to new situations to a minimum (such as keeping them at the same school or home)
- While it may appear that judges are siding with one side or the other, most state statutes put minor children’s best interests ahead of those of other family members.
2. Consider keeping your children out of the courtroom.
Addiction, cheating, criminality, fraud, domestic violence, financial difficulties, and other stressors are all topics that you can talk with your children. Before everyone goes to court, children who are old enough to understand these problems may need to speak with you.
Because each family’s ramifications are different, the process may take longer than planned or require the intervention of specialists to speak with your children.
Divorcing parents may choose to try measures like mediation or alternative conflict resolution to assist lighten the process, calm difficult topics, and ease the transition for their children (ADR). It’s worth noting that divorces involving criminal issues (such child abuse or a parent losing all of their assets due to fraud) nearly always necessitate the involvement of a court.
Your child will not be called to testify against one of the parents because most divorces are no-fault. If it is crucial to the case, you can invite your child to speak, or a court may ask them to testify. This is unusual, although it could happen if there is a harassment or abuse issue.
3. Children may be able to voice their custody desires.
On occasion, your children will be personally participating in the procedures. This varies depending on the child’s age and health. Many courts will allow even young children to weigh in on custody matters, and some states allow youngsters as young as 12 years old to pick which parent they want to live with. This is normally done in a private conference with the judge rather than in a large courtroom.
Older children may be able to express themselves, and judges in many states will consider their wishes unless the child is in immediate danger.
State legislation and specialized judges set the age at which a kid can submit input.
California will allow youngsters to voice their preferences for who they want to live with when they reach the age of 14.
In Washington, minors are not permitted to express their opinions unless the judge specifically requests it.
Judges in Wyoming can consider the wishes of juveniles aged 12 and up.
This also works in the opposite direction. If a child chooses to live with one parent but later denies visitation with that parent, the courts will consider his or her wishes. They will be permitted to participate if the state law allows it and they are capable of articulating their reasoning.
Speaking with a judge might be intimidating for a child, but court advocates strive to make the procedure as painless as possible, allowing the child to communicate his or her actual feelings.
Do adult children have a say in the divorce process?
According to the law, a child above the age of 18 has no legal say in your divorce. Where you reside, how much you pay for their needs, and how much time they spend with each parent will all be determined by the child’s and parent’s personal preferences.
This dilemma becomes more difficult if you have a child with special needs or who is over 18 but incapable. In some cases, you may need to set up a guardianship agreement.
Additional arrangements (such as a special needs trust) can be made if your kid will require help for the rest of their lives.
Need an Affordable Divorce lawyer in Scottsdale?
The High Desert Family Law Group should be your first choice when you need the best divorce lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix, Arizona. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation.