Child custody is one of the most intensely emotional and stressful aspects of divorce. It can be even scarier for fathers who hold the misconception that the mother is always preferred for child custody. A lot of factors play into custody decisions based on each unique divorce case, but both parents are equally considered. As a father, it is very unlikely that you would have no custody or ability to spend time with your children after divorce.
Custody decisions are made based on the best interest of the child. When going through a divorce, you and your ex-spouse have the option to decide upon custody agreements outside of court. However, sometimes an agreement can't be reached. In these cases, court will make a decision based on a number of factors, such as:
· Child's relationship to both parents
· Parents' abilities to care for the children
· Current living arrangement
· Any history of domestic violence or criminal charges for either parent
Delaware court also takes children's wishes into account. A child will never have complete decision-making power, but their preferences can be a factor. How much a child's wishes affect custody will be based on the child's maturity and ability to know what is best for themselves. For example, a five-year-old's preferences probably wouldn't affect a custody case much, if at all, but a teenager's wishes could have quite a bit of significance.
There are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody is the ability to make decisions in the child's life, such as their schooling and medical decisions, while physical custody refers to the parent that a child lives with.
In most cases, parents have joint legal custody. However, joint physical custody is becoming less and less common, due to the fact that it can easily cause an unstable living situation for the child, affecting schooling and emotional well-being. It is more common nowadays for one parent to have physical custody while the other is granted visitation rights.
All divorce cases are unique. A court makes decisions based on your individual circumstances, so there is no definitive answer or guideline for how much custody or time with your children you will have. What you can know, however, is that court is required to make custody decisions with the child's best interests in mind. If you have any concerns or questions about your situation, you can contact an experienced family law attorney. We understand the powerful fear, anger, and worry that child custody can cause and we can help you along every step of your case.