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How are child custody decisions made?

Have you and your spouse come to the conclusion that it's time for divorce? This is a difficult decision to make, but you may realize that it's the best thing you can do at this time.

As you ponder the future, you may soon turn your attention to an extremely important detail: the well being of your child or children.

If you have at least one child with the person you're divorcing, it goes without saying that matters or child custody and child support will come to light as the process moves forward.

It's important to understand your rights, as well as how child custody decisions are typically made. With the right knowledge, you'll find it much easier to make informed and confident decisions.

Generally speaking, there are three ways that parents can reach an agreement with regard to child custody and visitation:

-- Informal settlement negotiations

-- Out of court dispute resolution, such as mediation

-- Rely on a family court judge to make final decisions

As you can imagine, all of these options are a bit different. Many couples find that they are better off partaking in informal settlement negotiations or mediation. Here's why: this process gives you more control. Rather than allow a judge to make important decisions, you and your former spouse can work together to do what's best for the two of you and your child.

If you leave it up to a judge to decide, some of the factors he or she will consider include:

-- The age of the child

-- The relationship of the child and each parent

-- The ability of each parent to care for the child

-- The child's current situation, such as where they live and go to school

-- Whether either parent has a history of physical, alcohol, or drug abuse

In short, the court will always do what is in the best interest of the child.

Divorce will change your life forever. Although you will no longer be married to your spouse, this doesn't mean that your relationship with your child has to suffer.

By taking the right steps during the divorce process, you can ensure that you and your child are able to maintain a good relationship in the future.

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Visalia, CA 93291

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