Divorces are painful and stressful procedures in the best of circumstances. When the custody of a child is involved, everything becomes that much more complicated. Occasionally two parents can come to a decision without a messy court case, but in many cases both sides feel the other is not fit to raise their child. Here are five common child custody myths, and the truth behind them.
1. My Ex Makes More Money than I do, therefore they will Earn Custody
Comparative income is just one factor among many involved in a child custody case. Some factors are clear, such as a wealthier parent being able to provide a better living environment for the child than a poorer parent. A very poor parent might be deemed unable to provide the necessities, and automatically lose custody. On a more subtle note, a wealthier parent is more likely to have expensive legal consultation as well.
2. My Record has a Domestic Violence Charge, so No Custody for Me
Domestic violence is a serious crime to custody courts, but it isn’t necessarily the deciding factor. If the child was in no way involved in the domestic violence, and was never treated poorly, then the charge is irrelevant to the custody case. On the other hand, if the child was a victim, was present for the abuse or was somehow involved, the charge will hold more weight.
3. The Child gets to choose their Parent
This is rarely the case. Pre-teens and younger children can make their choice and give their reasons, but the weight of those choices and the reasons will vary depending on the situation. Older children, mostly teenagers, will be able to give their opinion and it will be given due consideration. The word of the child alone will not determine custody.
4. I am a Better Person, so I should get Custody
Quality of character is not a sole determining factor, but it can make a difference. Your own character, as well as that of the people you allow into your home, has an impact on the atmosphere in which your child will be raised. However, do not assume that what you think makes you a good character will sway the courts. Often, religious affiliation, personal appearance and professional occupations are of less relevance to the courts.
5. The Mother Gains Automatic Custody of our Child
It is illegal for gender to be the sole determining factor of child custody. In fact, if you can prove gender bias in the custody battle, it can be the basis for an appeal of the original decision. However, occasionally the mother has practical reasons for earning custody, especially of younger children.
- Jennie is a former paralegal and blogger residing in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. She recommends Marc V. Taiani and Eric Barnes, Criminal Attorneys in Pittsburgh for superior Pittsburgh based legal representation. For more information on Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, including state laws, please visit state.pa.us.