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What are the benefits of discussing child-custody arrangements?

Whether you live in Missouri or Connecticut, you have probably heard stories of divorce battles over their kids when parents decide to part. When minor children are involved, child custody issues might very well arise. Some parents take their cases to court, but others make informal agreements. Getting a definitive legal ruling about custody can benefit both the parents and the children involved in the process.

What does a custody order establish? A custody order can determine which parent has the right to make major decisions about how the children are brought up. Depending on the custody arrangement, one parent or both parents could make decisions such as, what school the children will attend, what extracurricular activities they can do, what religion they will be exposed to, whether they will be allowed to work when they are old enough and other similar decisions.

A custody order will also define the responsibilities of both parents to their children. One parent may have the right to be the resident parent, or the parents might be able to share custody. In some cases, one parents will try to get a custody order to force the other parent to pay child support.

What guides the courts in establishing child custody? Whatever motives parents have in child-custody cases, they must understand that a court's goal is to meet the best interests of the child. Doing so requires judges to determine the capabilities of both parents to raise their children. If parents decide to meet their children's best interest themselves, they can create their own custody arrangements through readily available alternatives.

Those who are dealing with child custody issues should learn about their rights so they can make better decisions that will benefit their children. Parents can also discuss their cases with divorce or family law attorneys who are adept in handling such cases.

Source: Womenslaw.org, "Custody," accessed on Nov. 20, 2014

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