Some of the first questions parents ask after they decide to get divorced involve the children. Common questions can include the following.
#1: How do we figure out who the children live with?
The process generally begins with the parents. Louisiana state law tasks the parents with developing a child custody agreement during the divorce process. It should include a custody arrangement and plans for parenting time.
If unable to come up with an agreement, the courts will put one together on the parent’s behalf. When this is necessary, the courts use the best interest of the child standard. This is a legal process that involves a review of various factors that can include:
- Emotional ties of each parent to the child;
- Capacity of each party to provide food and meet the child’s material needs;
- Moral fitness;
- Mental and physical health of each party; and
- Home and school history of the child.
These are just a few examples the court will take into account when making their decision.
#2: Can both parents be involved in the children’s lives?
It is generally best for the children if both parents can play an active role in the upbringing of the children after the divorce. There are some exceptions to this, notably situations of abuse. However, in the absence of abuse or another exception to the rule, parents can often better ensure the success of their child after divorce by encouraging the child have a relationship with both parents.
Studies support this notion, the idea that quality coparenting arrangements help with children’s mental health after divorce. Various factors can impact the quality of the arrangement. Some examples include:
- Working together to raise the children.
- Amicable conversations. Not fighting in front of the children.
Parents who are just starting or who are concerned about keeping the relationship cordial can find it helpful to keep conversations focused on the children instead of other matters that may cause tension.
#3: What if the custody arrangement does not work?
It is possible to review the plan and propose changes in the future. If both parents agree to the proposal, the changes are relatively easy. If both parents do not, the proposing parent can move the process forward through the legal process for an official, court ordered modification.