If your divorce involves children, you very naturally have questions that relate to child custody, but knowing where to begin when it comes to asking the right questions can be daunting. While your child custody concerns are unique to you, your kids, and your situation, discussing the answers to the following questions with an experienced Florence divorce lawyer can help immensely.
Which Factors Will the Court Consider in Determining Child Custody?
If the court is determining your child custody terms, it will take wide-ranging factors into consideration (that reflect the big picture) in the process. The court is always swayed by the best interests of the children involved, and as such, all of the following factors can play a role:
Your children’s relationships with both you and their other parent
You and your divorcing spouse’s relative health
Your children’s evolving developmental needs
Your children’s emotional needs
How stable the environment each parent provides is
The ability each of you has to care for your shared children
What Kind of Options Do We Have when It Comes to Parenting Plans?
The truth of the matter is that you can devise any parenting plan – or visitation schedule – that works for you, your children’s other parent, and your children, and the court is almost certain to sign off on it. If you need the court to make the determination for you, it is likely to assign a standard parenting plan that falls into one of the following categories:
One of you becomes the primary residential parent with whom the children live the majority of the time, and the other receives a standard visitation schedule.
You receive a standard back-and-forth visitation schedule in which you share the children fairly equally.
Who Pays Child Support, and How Does It Work?
Child support is calculated according to strict state guidelines that the court will deviate from only when there is a compelling reason for doing so (such as if you have a child with special needs who requires additional care and supervision). Typically, the parent who has the children the majority of the time receives child support from the other parent. Even if you split your time with your children directly down the middle, however, the higher earner will generally pay child support to the other parent. This is because child support is predicated on each parent’s financial ability to support his or her children.