Child custody can be one of the most heated arguments to take place in divorce proceedings between a couple that no longer wants to be married to one another. Because of this, the children can be hurt emotionally. Courts want to make sure before child custody is awarded to either party that the children will be taken care of financially, physically, and emotionally. If not, then custody will be awarded to the other party involved in the divorce case. Child custody, prior to the twentieth century, was awarded to the father of the child as defined by common law. This is because children use to be viewed as rightful property of the father. This has since changed and courts have begun to favor the mother of children in child custody cases stemming from divorces. The change in ruling came about when people began assuming that children would be better off if they were placed in the custody of their mother and not their father. This train of thought lasted for only a short time and it shifted once again. This time it shifted back in favor of the father, who were thought to be of equal credentials to have custody of their children. Most courts recognize the fact that children benefit by having both of their parents active in their life while growing up. Those same courts still believe that the primary caregiver during a marriage should remain the primary caregiver of the children following the marriage.
Child custody for the father or the
mothers is still debatable today. In fact, 70 percent of all child custody
cases are awarded to the mother. Child custody cases are awarded to the father
less than 10 percent of the time while joint custody of the children is awarded
to both the father and mother roughly 20 percent of the time. In one of the
most lopsided years in
Child custody decisions are handed down from judges involved in these cases and the decisions are dependent upon what is the best interest of the child. If the judge feels that the children involved in the case will benefit most from their parents having joint custody then the judge will reward joint custody to both the mother and father of the children. If joint custody is awarded then a parenting plan will be established that outlines how the mother and father will share the responsibilities and rights of their children. The parenting plan includes who will make the major decisions in the child’s life, where he or she will live permanently, where he or she will spend the weekends, holidays, birthdays, and etc. To help judges determine who receives child custody they will listen to the testimony of the mother and the father as well as the children involved in the case. Some of the factors involved in making child custody decisions are the history of any child abuse or neglect, past parenting history, household stability, personal behavior and time available to dedicate to raising a child.
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