Going through a dispute over child custody is an incredibly difficult experience. Nothing is more important to you than your child, so having to compromise at all in that area of your life may seem impossible.
Dealing with court hearings and the financial aspects of your divorce while fighting for your right to see your child is one massive challenge all on its own, and it can get even harder if you don’t know what to expect. There are some popular myths that surround child custody cases, and you may believe your case is already heading toward a specific conclusion based on those myths. However, the popular ideas about custody in the media aren’t always true, so you can relieve some stress and anxiety during this difficult time by separating custody fact from fiction.
Women are preferred
While there have been cases in which women have received preferential treatment from the judge, that is not always what happens, and the courts have improved in this area in recent years. The stereotypes commonly associated with gender have tainted custody decisions in the past, but in today’s society, these false assumptions play less of a role. Under many judges, men have the same sort of chance at gaining custody that women do, provided all the other factors are equal.
Child support is not necessary in equally shared custody
A lot of people think that when custody is shared equally between both parents, both parties won’t have a legal obligation to pay child support. However, this isn’t always the case. A large number of factors determine who is liable for support, with income being the main determinant.
Parental alienation syndrome is widely known
Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is when a child insults, belittles and tries to disassociate from one parent on a regular basis, often at the behest and actions of the other parent. While this is an issue that has come up in many child custody cases, courts don’t always acknowledge its existence as the science behind it is still shaky. Parental alienation in general, however, is something that a court may recognize.
Domestic abuse is an automatic custody decider
While rare, partners who are guilty of domestic abuse may still be able to gain some custody over the child. This is a custody-determining factor in many cases, but you should never assume you’ll automatically be granted custody because your partner is guilty of domestic abuse.
A schedule isn’t needed
If you find yourself starting to get along better with your former partner, you may believe there is no need for a formal schedule for visitation and other things. However, life changes, and you may find yourself not agreeing so readily with your ex-partner down the road. Working out a detailed parenting plan now will help prevent problems later, and you can always agree to be flexible on its terms if things are going well.
In a situation as serious as child custody, you’ll need to protect your rights as well as the rights of your children. Speak to an experienced family law attorney if you haven’t done so already, as he or she can help support and guide you throughout this difficult process.