4 Common Myths About Child Custody

Posted on: 6 April 2015

Are you trying to obtain or keep custody of your children? This can be a scary time for a parent, and it's usually advisable to begin seeing a professional as soon as possible. Many of the things that people think they know about custody are simply not true; custody arrangements are very specific and well-regulated by the law, and they need to be handled properly to take care of both yourself and your child or children. Here are four myths about child custody that should be dispelled.

The Mother Will Always Gain Custody

Statistics show that courts do not favor mothers but that, rather, most fathers don't seek custody at all -- and most custody arrangements don't go through the courts. Fathers who are interested in obtaining custody of their children should obtain a divorce attorney as soon as possible and begin creating a case regarding their involvement in their child's life. In general, mothers usually obtain custody not because they are mothers but because they have usually spent more time with their children.

Joint Custody Avoids Child Support

The only way to truly avoid child support is for a parent to gain full custody of their child. Joint custody does not avoid child support; should the other parent require child support, they will still receive it for the amount of hours that they take care of the child. However, that is if the other parent requires it. If the other parent gets married again or increases their earning potential, child support can always be adjusted or taken away entirely. 

Children Can Specify Who They Want to Live With

While a judge may listen to a child's opinion regarding who they want to live with, the judge is under no obligation to listen to the child -- even if the child is older, such as a child above the age of 12. A child's testimony regarding abuse or neglect can be considered by the courts and may sway the court considerably, but simple preference usually isn't given much merit. Many children will opt for a parent who is more lenient or "spoils" them more, and courts do understand this; thus, courting the opinion of the child may not necessarily be to a parent's benefit.

An "Unfit Parent" Will Obviously Not Get Any Custody

Drinking, doing drugs and even a history of domestic abuse is not always enough to remove a parent from the possibility of custody. It can be easy to assume that one has a "slam dunk" of a case when these factors are put into play, but it isn't necessarily true. If, for instance, your ex-spouse has a drug history but shows that they are now clean and sober and have more of a history with your children, you may still have a hard time getting full custody.

All of the above are important reasons as to why a custody attorney is so important to the process. Many things that you might assume -- such as a child's preferences being taken into consideration -- may not actually factor in. Very few custody cases actually get to court, but once a decision is rendered it can be difficult to adjust. 

For more information, contact Shipman, Dixon & Livingston Co., L.P.A. or a similar firm.