Important Things Divorced Parents Should Know About Child Custody and Support


If you and your spouse have decided to part ways and have children, you may fight over child custody and support if you have decided to end your relationship.  Often, it is in the best interest of all parties involved if you both can agree on these matters amicably. A lot of courts let you file a consent order that sets forth custody and support agreements as long as these agreements have been determined to be in the best interest of your child. This means that these agreements are not harmful to the emotional as well as physical health and wellbeing of your child. 

Child Custody and Support Petition

If you and your partner cannot agree on a child custody and support agreement, one of you can file a lawsuit that seeks court intervention with the help of a Lawrence Law Office attorney. In general, family courts will want to keep the parent-child relationship and won’t stop a parent from seeing their child without fair cause. 

Most people think that child custody refers to the right to determine the primary residence of the child. However, custody is more complex than this. Apart from setting forth parameters on physical custody or residence, legal custody can include determining the parent that can make decisions on the education, religious upbringing, or medical care of a child. 

Understanding Sole and Joint Custody

When family courts decide custody cases, they will determine whether sole or joint custody is appropriate when both parents have reached an agreement on this. Often, they will grant joint custody unless they can determine giving sole custody to one parent is in the best interest of the child. But, if you and your partner share joint custody, the split may not be even. The court may grant one of you greater custodial time, depending on factors such as which of you is the main caretaker as well as your personal obligations and work. 

Impact of Child Custody on Support

The custody arrangement you and your spouse have come up with will be considered by a family court when determining support obligations. But, it is not the only factor they consider. One of you may need to give support payments no matter you have joint custody of the child. Generally, the court will calculate every parent’s support obligation based on the custody arrangement, both of your incomes, as well as both of your expenses and the expenses of your child.  Court-issued support orders can set forth the parent that must give health insurance for the child, the one who should cover the medical expenses that insurance does not cover, and the child’s education. 

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