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The Ultimate Guide to Child Custody and Support: Everything You Need to Know

The Ultimate Guide to Child Custody and Support: Everything You Need to Know Divorce is one of the most difficult decisions that any couple can face. It's normal to feel sad, disappointed, and overwhelmed as you go through the process. Traditional divorce proceedings tend to be costly and stressful, but many couples choose mediation as an alternative solution that can help reduce friction and speed up the process. Mediation has proven to be highly effective when it comes to divorce, with almost 90% of mediated cases resulting in a successful resolution. Moreover, surveys show that over two-thirds of those who tried it found the process satisfying.

When children are involved in a divorce, there are additional considerations to take into account. The process should be tailored to address their needs by taking not just the parents' preferences but also their emotional well-being into consideration. There are counseling services available for both adults and children which can help them cope with the challenging circumstances during this tough time in their lives. Seeking professional advice from qualified professionals is recommended when making such important decisions concerning your family.

What is Child Custody?

Child custody is a highly significant legal arrangement that determines the rights and responsibilities each parent adheres to in regard to providing support and care for their children. During a marriage, both parents are usually automatically afforded fifty percent of all rights and responsibilities regarding their child's life. However, once divorce proves imminent, or even just requested, either the court must decide, or the parties involved must negotiate how responsibility regarding the custody of the child will be divided between them.

The parent who primarily retains all custody rights over a given child is known as the custodial parent and is responsible for deciding areas such as within what jurisdiction a child should attend school, on what weekends they should visit with which parent, etc. According to recent government statistics, it is estimated that 13.4 million single parents are currently legally responsible as custodial guardians of one or more children in just the United States alone. Custody agreements can vary hugely from couple to couple depending on individual circumstances; some may choose joint physical custody where two parents share equal responsibilities in caring for their children’s everyday needs and well-being whereas others may opt for sole physical custody whereby only one parent takes primary responsibility. 

Child Custody Laws by State

State laws regarding child custody are in place to protect the best interests of the child. Each state has its own guidelines for how parents and guardians are to handle court decisions concerning the care of children in both temporary arrangements and permanent ones. Before making any arrangement, it is wise to investigate the information related to your specific state's child custody laws. This information can generally be found on government websites or family law legal support centers. Knowing what is permissible in terms of visitation and decision-making authority will help guide you through the court process with greater peace of mind.

In addition to familiarizing yourself with what is legally allowed, there are alternate options for resolving a dispute over child custody other than litigation, such as voluntary mediation or arbitration. If both parties are speaking civilly and respectfully, it may be possible to come up with an acceptable agreement outside of court that allows each person time with the child regardless of who resides permanently with them. Additionally, subscribing to MediatorSelect’s mailing list provides access to quality content surrounding successful resolution strategies which can be helpful when deciding on a course of action for your own situation.

Who Pays Child Support?

Child support is a payment made by one parent to the other parent for the financial care and support of a child. In most cases, the noncustodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent who is primarily responsible for the care of the child. Courts may also order either parent to pay child support in shared custody situations where both parents have some responsibility for raising the child. According to recent studies, nearly half—13.4 million in total—of all custodial parents in the U.S. have legal or informal agreements that determine how much parental support should be paid for a particular situation or circumstance.

It is important to note that regardless of formal legal obligations, both parents should work together to come up with an arrangement that best supports their children's needs and interests as far as possible. The goal is to ensure that any financial contribution necessary from either parent will help provide an adequate quality of life for their children. Furthermore, it's essential for parents involved in a joint custody arrangement to come up with detailed plans on how finances should be handled in terms of expectancies and consistency with payments so everyone knows what their duties are throughout the duration of their familial relationship going forward.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Texas

An experienced family law attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you explain and navigate the entire case process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

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Selecting an attorney can be one of the most difficult decisions a person has to make. In what seems like an overwhelming sea of attorneys who do you choose? Are they qualified, compassionate, and are they willing to fight for you without compromising their integrity? When faced with this decision in 2016 I received this and more when I retained Rahlita Thornton as my attorney. Since 2016 she has represented me on several court cases and I've never been disappointed. She is well versed and very knowledgeable on many aspects of the law. Attorney Thornton and her staff work diligently to ensure no stone is left unturned and justice is served. When I was crippled with fear, bullied, and felt like giving up she was my voice. She is highly recommend and I'm truly blessed to have her in my life. TTW
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