Staying involved in your child’s life after divorce

The decision to end a relationship is often a very difficult time for both parties. Frequent arguments can lead to constant stress, and it might be easier to walk away from the relationship instead of trying to make things work. Emotions will run high, and this can lead to even more problems as the couple breaks apart.

If the parties are married, one of the spouses may file for a divorce. As part of the divorce process, the spouses may try to work with one another to come up with child custody and property division agreements. These are often the two most difficult issues of any divorce, and can take some time to resolve. If the parties are unable to work out an agreement, the courts will decide these issues, which may lead to unexpected results.

In child custody matters, courts in California are required to decide custody based upon the best interests of the child. This means that the court will weigh several factors to determine which parent will provide the child with the best opportunity to reach his or her potential. Some of the factors that the court will consider include the age and health of the child, the bond between the parent and child, the ability of each parent to provide care, and also any history of abuse in the household.

Most parents want to remain actively involved with their children, and if they are not granted custody, they still want to be able to have visitation time. Courts may approve visitation orders or parenting time schedules so that the non-custodial parent remains a part of his or her child's life.

These orders can occasionally be modified, but only if there is a major change in circumstances between the parties. The court may give the child's wishes some consideration, but it will not necessarily be the deciding factor in custody matters.

Once the order for custody and visitation has been established, it is up to the parents to figure out ways to make the arrangements work for all sides. If parents can set up and agree to a set schedule, it may lead to less uncertainty for the child, and less fighting between the ex-spouses. Often, disputes arise because one parent does not do what he or she is supposed to at a specified time, leading to anger between the ex-spouses.

Technology has also made it easier for parents to stay in touch with their child, even if they are not able to have a face-to-face conversation. Phone calls, text messages and even emails can allow parents to remain actively involved in their child's life.

If you are considering a divorce and have questions related to potential child custody issues, speak to an experienced family law attorney about your case. It is important to understand what will happen during this process, so that you can decide which of the options may be best for you.