Parents often hear horror stories about child custody cases and are flooded with misinformation from well-meaning friends, colleagues and acquaintances. With so many child custody myths, we're going to debunk some here:
1. The child gets to choose: Depending on the child's age and maturity, the courts will usually listen to a child's wishes, and they will want to know the child's reasons. However, that does not mean that the child gets to choose. In the end, it is the family law judge who decides.
2. The mother always wins: Historically, the mother was the one to get custody of the kids. However, these days the courts do not show preference for the mother or the father. In contested child custody cases, the court weighs all of the facts and renders a decision based on the child's best interests.
3. Being on antidepressants will hurt your chances: It's common for parents to suffer from depression while they are divorcing or amid a child custody battle. The courts do not frown upon a parent who seeks treatment for their depression.
4. We get along well, there's no need for a schedule: When parents get along well enough that they can share their children without a schedule, that's great – until something changes. When you add a new sweetheart to the mix, suddenly things take a turn for the worse.
It's better to work out a detailed parenting plan at the onset; you can be flexible to a point, but if things get difficult, you can insist on sticking to the terms of the agreement.
5. My ex won't let me see the kids, I don't have to pay child support. You have to pay child support no matter what. If your ex won't let you see the kids, then you need to take them to court so the court can enforce the order. Otherwise, you can be found in contempt of court for not paying child support.
Contact a Los Angeles child custody lawyer from Claery & Hammond, LLPtoday!