Navigating Child Custody

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Divorce is always complicated; however, it’s especially true when children are involved. As a parent, your biggest obligation is ensuring that your child grows up in a safe, nurturing environment. That can seem like an impossible feat, when two parents are fighting non-stop over child custody issues. The first step is accepting that you can only control yourself and your own actions. You can’t control what the other parent does to “win.” Sadly, some parents get so obsessed with having the final word that they’ll happily throw their children into the middle of a nasty separation. You can, however, do your best to act ethically and responsibly, without becoming a doormat.

How Divorce Impacts Kids

The act of divorce itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing for children. Children of divorce do experience negative, short-term effects, but research shows that they tend to bounce back quickly. However, high levels of parental conflict during and after a divorce make it harder to recover, which shouldn’t be surprising. There’s a great deal of talk about “staying together for the kids,” but that ignores the fact that most children would rather see their parents separated and happy, than together and miserable.

It may sound counterintuitive, but hiring a family law attorney, like those employed by the Caldwell, NJ, law firm can go a long way towards ensuring that your divorce is as civil and amicable as possible. A family law attorney is designed to serve their clients’ best interests, even when clients may not always be aware of what those are. When a divorce gets heated, a good attorney will stay calm and remind their client that, in the long run, it really doesn’t matter who gets the flat-screen TV. Some issues, however, such as suspected abuse or mistreatment by one parent, do matter a great deal. Good divorce attorneys can also remind you that judges really don’t like it when two parents are engaged in an all-out war with each other. Judges will often look more favorably upon the parent who seems willing to take a step back and act maturely. Ideally, both parents can do that.

Child Support

The issue of child support can also bring out the worst in people. Some parents get angry and believe that asking for child support is somehow greedy, but it’s not. Child support is owed to the child. Both parents should have a role in the financial well-being of their offspring. Every state has a different formula for calculating child support, and you should talk to your attorney if you think a judge has ordered you to pay an unfair amount.

In some cases, paternity may be questioned. It’s more common to have to establish paternity in cases where the parents aren’t married. However, if infidelity was an issue in the marriage, the assumed father may begin to wonder if the child is really his. A man married to a woman at the time she gives birth is generally assumed to be the father in the eyes of the law. Unwinding that assumption takes some time, and in some cases may not be legally possible. So, if you have reasons to question if you really fathered a child, the time to act is before any divorce proceedings begin. Find a service, like the Upstate DNA Testing of Central New York LLC, but be prepared to receive answers you may not like. Also, remember that DNA testing should be used to get information. It should not be used as a way to punish a child.

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