Copious amounts of stress usually accompany a child custody battle. Many parents are not fully aware of the the legal process and its implications. In addition, there are many misconceptions and myths that hinder parents from questioning or challenging custody arrangements. This can hinder a parent from fulfilling his or her legal rights in court, and thus, as a parent. The following list takes a closer look at some of the myths surrounding child custody arrangements:
Myth #1: The Court Will Not Change Existing Arrangements
Once a judge decides on a custody arrangement and visitation rights, some people think that the decision is fixed and unmodifiable. This may prevent a parent from requesting more time with his or her children.
Fortunately, existing arrangements are always subject to change. If something happens or the case is brought to the court, the judge will review all components of the case and consider any specific circumstances. If a new arrangement is likely to benefit the child, then the courts can make changes to the existing one as they see necessary.
Myth #2: Sole Custody Is a Common Solution
The court often tries to avoid granting sole custody. In fact, they encourage a child to maintain a strong relationship with both parents. Sole custody will usually only be granted if one parent is seen as unfit to care for a child.
Myth #3: The Mother Always Wins Custody
Though this is a very common misconception, it is not true. Parents are subject to the same review when the court is deciding the custody of a child. A judge wants the child or children to reside with the parent that can provide the safest environment and the best care. This may depend on a parent’s income, living arrangements, stability and even testimony. A father is just as likely as a mother to win custody.
Myth #4: The Courts Prioritize the Parent’s Wants and Needs
In child custody cases, the highest priority of the court is always the needs of the child. Decisions are made to best benefit the child, regardless of the parent’s needs. Therefore, they will consider which parent is best suit to care for and support the needs of the child.
Myth #5: Grandparents Cannot Gain Custody or Visitation Rights
In many child custody battles, the grandparents of the children are often involved to some extent. Some grandparents even take shared or sole custody when one or both parents are incapacitated or deemed unfit to care for the children.
In other cases, grandparents may request visitation rights. For a grandparent to be granted visitation rights, a number of circumstances are considered, and it must be in the child’s best interest.
Experienced family lawyers such as the Child Custody Attorney Phoenix AZ locals trust can clarify many misconceptions regarding custody arrangements and visitation rights. They can also help you to determine the best options for your specific case, and ensure your legal rights are protected.
A special thanks to our authors at Hildebrand Law for their insight into Family Law.