It is a belief held by many that the custody arrangement for any children in a marriage is the most important decision to reach in a divorce proceeding. Parents can often times forget that the ultimate consideration is what is best for the child. They treat custody like a battle with the other parent and use their children as pawns in the process. Child custody determinations should be made with the child in mind, not the parents.
Divorce is an emotional and stressful process for all involved. This includes not only parents, but children as well. A recent article provided helpful advice for parents to keep in mind during this process. The most pertinent, as it concerns their children and divorce, are to not blame the other parent and to understand that the custody of the children is not a battle about winning. This helps to prevent alienating the child's feelings toward the other parent, as well as confusing the child. Additionally, it is important to remember that a custody arrangement is meant to be what is best for the child, not necessarily for the parents.
Determining what is best for the child invokes many factors that must be considered. Although these factors may differ depending on the state you live in, there are some common ones applied in all states. These include the child's preference, health of the parents, religious considerations, a stable home, other people in the home, education and possible abuse by the parents. These criteria aid a court in deciding an arrangement that will be best for the child. It is easy to lose sight of this when parent's are fighting over who should have the children and the proper arrangement that may seem best for them.
It is important for parents going through a divorce to know their rights and responsibilities as it concerns the custody of their children. Although they may have their own feelings and interests in such proceedings, they should keep in mind that such arrangements are for the benefit of their children, not themselves.
Source: FOX News, "4 tips for parents going through divorce," Tina Paone and Thomas Petrelli, Apr. 21, 2013