Who Will "Win" Custody Of The Children?

The fact is that in 90% of cases in the United States where parents have decided they will not parent together, the parents are able to come to an agreement regarding child custody and visitation arrangements. However, the remaining 10% of cases where a court is involved can be devastating for parents, children, the extended families, and even for professionals involved in their cases.

Because of the high potential that a custody battle can have long-lasting negative impact on children, most states have instituted as many safeguards against that possibility as possible. In general, all child custody decisions are to be based on "the best interests of the children." In many states, even in those cases where the parties have signed an agreement regarding custody and visitation, they are asked during the final proceedings whether they believe the custody and visitation arrangements are in the best interests of their children. Safeguards in place include:

  • In any contested custody matter, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem, an attorney whose role is to represent the best interests of the child during the course of litigation
  • If there are any allegations of abuse or neglect, the court MUST appoint guardian ad litem
  • Sometimes the courts order "custody evaluations" which are investigations and reports from impartial professionals with specific training for the task, usually social workers or mental health professionals
  • In some states, depending on the age of the children, courts allow children to have some input into their custody decisions
  • All states have a long list of statutory factors that the court must take into account prior to making such determinations

Prepared. Focused. Aggressive.

For more information review our other family law FAQs, or call the Zolman Law Firm at 314-375-5237 or contact us online.