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Child custody and parenting: In the best interests of child

Residents of St. Charles County may be aware that there's an increase in the divorce rate across the nation. Marital disputes can take different forms, depending on the couple's situation. Disputes, if not settled properly, may result in divorce, which is difficult for the entire family. Tension may start to build if the couple faces a child custody battle. Custody disputes may cause dire consequences to the children involved; caution should be exercised because of the situation's delicate nature.

It is essential that parents consider their children before they make decisions that affect them. Custody has two parts: legal custody and physical custody. In legal custody, the court designates a parent to take control of the important decisions in a child's life: religion, school, medical care and extracurricular activities. Physical custody refers to where shared custody will take place and where the children will reside.

Once the child custody is settled, divorced couples need to construct a parenting plan for the children. Children should never be made to feel that they are being torn between their parents. Children shouldn't have to suffer for their parents problems.

Parenting after a divorce may be difficult at first. A custodial parent who is still in the process of recovery may not be able to tend to all of the needs of the children. Both parents should cooperate and make plans for their children. Parents should decide on bedtimes, television schedules and what their children should eat. The parents should present a united front so that the children don't get confused.

Parents having trouble with child custody may need to seek out further information if they believe they need more options. This will help to ease what can already be a very difficult situation.

Source: Sentinelsource.com, "Successful co-parenting after divorce," Adriana Elliot, Nov. 15, 2012

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