When married parents end their relationship, they must consider how they will split custody of their children. Due to this, child custody is often the central focus of many divorce cases. The court will carefully weigh the custody options for a child, even in cases where both parents agree on a parenting plan.
You have rights as a parent, but it is important that you enforce those rights and make your wishes known during your divorce. An experienced family attorney could answer your questions about the custody process. Whether your divorce is amicable or not, a discussion with a Manhattan child custody lawyer could benefit you.
Types of Child Custody
There are two basic categories of child custody that must be considered by the judge overseeing a custody case: residency arrangements and legal custody. A child custody attorney in Manhattan could provide a thorough understanding of each of these categories.
Legal custody represents the right to make important legal decisions for the child. This includes decisions about healthcare, education, and religion. On the other hand, residency involves the physical location where the child, or children, lives. While the parent that has primary legal custody of a child will typically determine their residential arrangements as well, that is not always the case.
Parenting Plans and the Child’s Best Interests
Many divorce cases are ultimately resolved amicably, with both parents coming to an agreement on custody terms. This agreement is known as a parenting plan. The parenting plan could be relatively simple, giving one parent primary custody and the other access to the child on certain dates. These plans could also be complex, essentially setting out a calendar that covers every holiday, school vacation, or weekend for an entire year. A local attorney could help develop a child custody parenting plan that both parties agree to.
The judge in a child custody case must abide by the same standard regardless of whether the parents agree on a plan or not. When the court makes a custody decision, they are required to do what is in the best interest of the child. While there is a presumption that a parenting plan agreed to by both parties is in a child’s best interest, the court is not bound by that plan. Instead, the court could make their own custody determination if they identify facts that show the plan is not in favor of the child.
When a judge considers a custody case, there are a series of factors state law sets out that they are required to consider. This non-exhaustive list of factors is found at K.S.A. 23-3203. Some of the factors listed in the statute include the child’s age, the parent’s custody preferences, the emotional needs of the child, and family work and school schedules.
Speak with a Manhattan Child Custody Attorney Today
While you have certain rights when it comes to the custody of your children, it is important to remember that the court will have the final say on custody issues following a divorce. For that reason, it is vital that you seek legal counsel that understands how to protect your rights.
Do not leave the custody of our children to chance. Schedule an initial consultation with a Manhattan child custody lawyer as soon as possible.