If your marital relationship seems to be coming to the inevitable conclusion of divorce, there are several important aspects of your life to consider and discuss with a formidable legal counsel. We asked local family law professionals to identify some key topics and what the average person should know as divorce goes from a discussion to a reality.
“Each custody case is viewed on a fact-sensitive basis based upon the best interests of the child/children. Legal custody is the decision-making authority for matters of importance for the child/children. This is significant on issues dealing with health, religion, welfare and education as in a joint legal custody situation, the parents are to jointly make decisions and if they cannot agree, court intervention will be necessary. Physical custody is where the kids are on any given day, specifically how their time is shared with each of their parents. Both legal and physical custody can be shared and in many cases is shared, allowing both parents to have an equality in the lives of their children.
“The court is guided by the best interest of the child/children in every case. The court will look at the facts of the case individually but the court does consider what was the status quo, how close the parents live to one another, job responsibilities of the parents, any history of abuse, etc. These factors will help a court determine the practicalities of a joint legal and physical custody situation.
“Depending on the age of the child, their opinion can be considered but it is not the be all end all of the discussion. As children become teenagers and are more articulate about their wants and needs, the court can allow their input to be considered either through an interview by the court or a custody expert if one has been engaged in the litigation.”
Stephanie J. Zane, Esq.
Archer & Greiner P.C.
“No matter what the stage of the marriage, short term, long term or gray divorce, couples who agree that they want to participate and control the decisions of their divorce, preserve the dignity and emotional well-being of the family for the benefit of children as well as limit the overall trauma and expense are candidates for mediation. Mediation is not a viable solution when physical or emotional abuse is present.
“Mediation enables clients to maintain control of the decision making with the assistance of a professional mediator to educate and facilitate the process of considering all the nuances of each client’s specific circumstances now and into the future. Mediation is customized to the needs of the clients, provides an environment where communication between the parties is promoted so that what is best for the family is at the forefront. Because of this, there is less emotional trauma and cost.
“Mediation is successful because the parties are active participants in the decision making process and control the outcome of their divorce. Changing circumstances with employment and relocation are examples of situations that may cause for new conflict to occur. We always advocate for parties to return to mediation if they can’t work things out rather than going to through the courts and often a successful conclusion is reached.”
Advanced Media Solutions
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 12.
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