When a couple chooses to get a divorce, the process can be difficult for everyone involved as emotions might be running high and there may be plenty of bad will. If there are children mixed up in the fray, they are liable to get hurt. Consequently, one of the best ways that California parents can protect their children during a divorce, as well as after it, is to opt for a healthy co-parenting dynamic where the children still feel cared for by both parents.
Many people believe that the only way to go through a divorce is through complicated and stressful litigation. However, there are other options. When it comes to agreeing on topics like asset division and child custody, a mediator can help both parties come to an amicable agreement without forcing a judge or jury to make their decisions. In the state of California, mediators are required to have a license to practice law.
Some couples going through divorce in California might want to consider a collaborative approach. A collaborative divorce involves each spouse having a separate attorney but working together to reach an agreement instead of going to court. If negotiations fail and the couple must go to court, neither attorney is permitted to participate further in the case.
Some California child custody and support matters are handled through an alternative dispute resolution procedure called mediation. This may allow people to reach agreements for child custody, parenting plans, visitation, child support and other issues.
Those who are going through a divorce in California may believe that litigation is the only way to end their marriages. However, mediation can be a less stressful and more productive alternative. Mediation is less stressful because the goal is for the parties to work together to create a settlement that works for everyone. The conversation is guided by a mediator who will strive to keep the conversation objective and civil.
Joint legal custody may be the custody arrangement courts in California assign to parents. Parents who have this type of custody share with the other parent the legal right to contribute to decision-making regarding significant issues that pertain to their child. This means that they will be making major decisions regarding matters related to healthcare, education and religion.
California couples may have noticed a new trend in how parents raise their children after a divorce. Instead of the child splitting time at each parent's home, the parents split time at the family home. This benefits the child as it provides a sense of stability during an otherwise uncertain time. However, this may not work well for all parents.
There are certain things parents in California can do to make their divorce less difficult for their children as well as things they can avoid. For example, parents should reassure children that the divorce is not their fault. They should encourage a good relationship with the other parent and talk to the child without offering an opinion if the child is negative about that parent. Neither parent should badmouth the other.
When there is a dispute about the role of unmarried or divorcing parents in the lives of children, the family law court system is usually asked to determine the respective rights of everyone involved. The rights of California parents to spend time with their children are called custodial rights. There are some basic assumptions incorporated into laws and judicial philosophies regarding the amount of time each parent is allowed to spend with children. Depending on the specifics of a situation, a judge may award sole, partial or joint custody of children.
Although family courts in California take unique circumstances into account when reviewing child custody petitions, four basic guidelines form the basis for parental evaluation. These are positive environment, previous involvement, present participation and personal character.