Child custody battles tend to be stressful and upsetting to the parents and the children involved. However, many of our child custody clients have preconceived notions about how the case will play out in court. Sometimes these myths can keep clients from challenging custody arrangements. They can also lead to a defeatist attitude or an invincible attitude. We have found that it is better if our clients know what to expect regarding visitation rights and custody arrangements. Consulting with experienced legal child custody professionals that locals trust is critical.
Myth #1: The Mother is Preferred and Usually Wins
The law doesn’t actually have a predilection these days towards the mother. While mothers can and do win custody battles, they lose just as often. The court wants to determine who can provide the best environment for the child. Judges recognize that both the mother and father should play an important role in the child’s life. Regardless of the final decision, the court typically seeks to award custody in such a way that both parents can actively participate in raising their children.
Myth #2: Sole Custody Is a Common Solution
It’s not. Sole custody is rarely a solution offered by the courts. While one parent might be granted sole physical custody and sole legal custody, the courts will almost always grant visitation rights to the other parent. Unless the parent has done something that severely challenges the court’s ability to see them as a responsible or caring human being, both parents will be awarded some form of visitation.
Myth #3: Once the Court Decides, Nothing Will Ever Change
We see many clients who are concerned that child custody arrangements and visitation rights will be set for eternity once they are decided by a court of law. This simply isn’t true. The court is well aware that situations change as do people. If there is a valid reason to change custody arrangements in the future, the court is willing and available to make changes. The permanence of a court decision is typically a few months at a minimum, but for young children in particular it is possible and likely that the court will update the custody and visitation arrangements if a parent requests an update.
Myth #4: Grandparents Cannot Gain Visitation Rights
The ultimate struggle over child custody and visitation rights is generally between the two parents of the child. However, grandparents often step in when one parent is incapacitated or cannot properly care for a child. In cases where both parents are incapacitated, a grandparent may even win sole custody of the child with limited visitation rights given to the two parents. If the grandparents feel that they need visitation rights in order to help the child properly develop and that they have legitimate fears about whether or not they will be able to see the child, courts may rule in favor of the grandparents and provide visitation rights.
Myth #5: Courts Care Most About the Parent’s Needs
Courts do not care most about the parent’s needs. Instead, courts care most about the needs of the child and what living arrangement will be in their best interest. The “best interests of the child” is considered the standard in family law courts. The child’s best interests are determined by looking at who can provide the best physical, emotional, and developmental support to the child.
For more information on custody arrangements and visitation arrangements, please contact a Fort Collins personal injury attorney. We will help you find the arrangement that works for you, your ex-partner, and most importantly your child. We understand how difficult this process can be and we will be with you every step of the way.