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Factors that affect legal child custody determinations

Parents know that good parenting requires more than just so-called quality time. Indeed, establishing a close parental rapport with a child cannot be created from short, scheduled sessions. In fact, no formula can guarantee that type of open relationship, where a child is able to talk easily to a parent without awkward or self-conscious silence, and is comfortable simply being around that parent.

Yet in a divorce, a court is tasked with the very responsibility of devising a formula that quantifies visitation time and child support obligations. According to the National Parents Organization and other fathers’ rights groups, that formula still favors sole custody arrangements in the mother’s favor. The groups are advocating for legislation that would make joint custody the presumption in divorces.

Of course, a divorce attorney knows that many factors might influence custody and visitation determinations. For example, when parents live far apart from each other, a visitation arrangement requiring equal time with each parent could subject a child to significant transportation time and expense. That travel time might come at the expense of creating a stable home environment for the child in either location. The logistics involved in that arrangement may also cause former spouses to have to interact much more than they would prefer. 

With the held of a child custody attorney, a parent going through a divorce can explore all the legal options available to him or her. There are differences between legal and physical custody, as well as joint and primary custody. An attorney can help a parent propose a fair solution.

Source: NPR, “Push To Change Custody Laws: What's Best For Kids?” Jennifer Ludden, Feb. 26, 2014

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