Divorce and Child Custody

For divorcing parents, reaching an agreement on child custody can be a stumbling block in what would otherwise be an amicable divorce. It often feels like one parent "wins" while the other parent "loses". But it doesn't have to be this way if parents can put their differences aside and do what's best for their children. To help you work through all the issues concerning custody, read through the following articles, organized by topic.

Child Custody Basics

What Is Custody? Get information to help you understand the basics of legal and physical custody, as well as joint vs. sole custody.

Child Custody and Visitation discusses the various child custody arrangements available to you and options for working out a visitation schedule.

Divorcing with Children - Understanding how custody is generally determined, why courts favor shared custody and the benefit of doing what's best for your child.

What Your Child Custody Agreement Should Include - Once you reach an agreement on custody, you will need to create a child custody agreement that outlines how each of the parents will continue to care for their children.

When Adopted Parents Divorce - If a child was adopted during your marriage, whether jointly or as a step-parent adoption, here are some things to consider.

Types of Custody

Temporary Child Custody - Establishing temporary custody during a separation or while a divorce is ongoing can help alleviate a lot of headaches. Find out about how to proceed, addressing parental kidnapping concerns, enforcing temporary orders, and more.

Shared Physical Custody - Discover the pros and cons of this type of custody, as well as how it's determined, changing the custody arrangement, and how schooling is affected by shared custody.

Considering 50/50 Custody? - While this may seem like a reasonable custody arrangement from a divorcing parent's perspective, it might not be the best thing for the children.

Split Custody - With this type of custody, both parents have physical custody of at least one child from the marriage. For example, one child lives with Dad and the other lives with Mom. Split custody is often frowned upon by the courts, but there are times when it makes sense.

Understanding Sole Custody - Some parents seek sole custody as a means to hurt their spouse or to assure they always have total control over their children. Sometimes it's warranted, but not always. Find out the factors considered in determining sole custody, parental rights with this type of custody, and more.

Joint Custody Child Support - Even if you share joint custody with your spouse, there may be a certain amount of child support ordered. Here are the reasons why.

Changing Child Custody - Here are some things to consider when changing custody, valid reasons to do so, whether your child can make the decision, and how to regain custody.

Military Child Custody and Visitation - Understand the complications that arise due to jurisdiction, deployments, and more.

Reaching a Custody Agreement

How is Custody Determined? - This series of questions and answers will help you to understand how custody is decided in different situations.

Child Custody Mediation - Using an impartial third party to help you and your spouse reach an agreement about the children without going to court.

Child Custody Jurisdiction - Get answers about which state will have jurisdiction over custody matters.

The Role of the Guardian ad Litem - Find out how legal representation for your child can help in your custody case and what you can do if there are issues with the law guardian.

Preparing for Child Custody Battles - Here are some steps to take if you are facing a custody trial.

Keeping Your Custody Fight Out of Court - Outlines the reasons why custody litigation is not always the best solution.

How to Win Custody - Steps you can take to help your case, including gathering evidence and finding witnesses, plus how to keep everything in perspective.

Explaining How Court Works to Kids - If you're facing mediation or have to go to court, these tips can help ease your kid's worries about the process.

Recording Cell Phone Voice Messages for use as evidence in a child custody battle. Discover when it's allowed and how to keep the recording.

Preparing for Your Custody Evaluation - Gain an edge in your custody battle by taking these steps to get prepared and understanding what to avoid during the evaluation.

The Custody Evaluation Process and Assessment - Find out how a custody evaluator is chosen and how the evaluation process works. 

Custody Factors and Parental Rights

Child Custody Issues - FAQs to help you understand your custody rights, how to file, what factors are considered in determining custody, grandparent custody or guardianship issues, and more.

What Makes a Parent Unfit for Custody and Visitation? - Sometimes it is obvious from the start that a parent is not fit to care for their child. In other instances, a person’s parenting ability may be adequate in the beginning, but current circumstances might endanger the mental or physical health of the child. Find out the reasons a parent might be deemed unfit here. 

Relocation and Child Custody - Find out the importance of a relocation clause, what can happen if you move before your divorce, what factors are considered in granting a relocation, getting permission to move, plus other issues concerning a parental move.

Child custody and Job Issues - If you're worried about how your job or erratic work schedule will affect custody of your children, the following discussion can answer your questions.

Child Custody and Incarceration - What happens when a parent goes to jail or is incarcerated? Find out how custody and visitation are affected if you’re facing this issue.

Substance Abuse and Child Custody - If you or your ex struggle with substance abuse, it can affect custody and visitation rights. Find out what the legal expert has to say. 

Custodial Interference – Find out what it is and what can be done when a parent disrupts or interferes with the custody rights of the other parent.

Understanding Parental Rights - Answers from the legal expert on issues such as paternity, parenting rights, step-parent adoption, guardianship, making medical decisions for your child and terminating parental rights.

Educational Decisions - Even after custody is determined, issues can still arise when deciding where your child will go to school. Find out the best way to proceed.

Child Custody Vacation Time Questions - Most custody agreements include provisions for summer vacation. Here are answers to many frequently asked questions about this topic.

Termination of Parental Rights - What is involved in giving up parental rights? Learn what the court considers in making the decision to terminate parental rights

If Your Child Chooses to Change Custody - At some point, you child may want to live with your ex, which can make you feel like second-best. Here are some tips for coping with the emotions.

Your Child's Passport after Divorce - If you're concerned about the possibility of parental kidnapping after your divorce, you need to be aware of how issues concerning your child's passport should be handled.

Passport Questions & Concerns - Do non-custodial parents need to provide passport consent? There are specific rules for issuing passports to children of divorced parents.

Other Custody Issues and Resources

Co-Parenting Classes - Co-parenting education classes are often required in divorce cases where there of minor children involved. Find out where they are required and what your options are to take these classes.

Shared Parenting Custody Calendar - How to keep track of everything after custody is determined and a visitation schedule is worked out.

Online Child Custody Calendar - Using an online visitation and tracking calendar can make it easier to see the schedule at a glance and keep detailed records of everything.

Coping as a Non-custodial Parent - How to still be a great parent even if the kids don't live with you.

Children and Parent Separation - Get tips for adjusting to the changes when you're the non-custodial parent.

Military Family Care Plan - It is important for a military mother with custody of her children to have a well thought-out FCP for periods of deployment. Here are some things to consider.

Critiquing Custody Assessments - What can you do if you feel like your custody evaluation reached the wrong conclusion? Find out how custody evaluations can be challenged and who should critique the evaluation.