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Divorce, Child Custody and Support



Divorces often are emotionally, financially and legally difficult. They involve complex family law issues, and may require the guiding hand of an experienced attorney. When a marriage with children ends, the parents must deal not only with the divorce, but also with child custody and support issues. None of these matters is easy, and spouses who disagree over the grounds for divorce may also disagree over custody and child support, as well. This means that many divorcing couples are forced to simultaneously address divorce, child custody and support issues.

Divorce is the legal term for the ending of a marriage relationship. When parties marry, they legally enter into the marriage relationship. When parties divorce, they legally end the marriage relationship. In divorces without children, the primary issue to address is the division of property, money and debt. Who gets the home? Who gets the car? Who must pay the credit card bills? Couples who are unable to reach an agreement on their own will be forced to let a judge make these decisions for them.

Divorce and Child Custody

Many marriages result in children. When those marriages end in divorce, the parents must deal with additional legal questions.

Chief among these, divorcing parents must decide who will have custody of the children. Courts award different types of custody. Sometimes one parent retains total control of the children. This is called sole custody. Other times, both parents retain some level of control. This is called joint custody or shared custody. If the parents are unable to reach a custody agreement, a judge will decide what is in the best interests of the child.

Child Custody and Support

Once child custody issues have been resolved, parents will also have the issue of child support.

When a marriage ends, the parent who has primary custody of the children often needs financial support from the other parent. (In family law, the parent with control of the child is called the custodial parent. The other parent is called the noncustodial parent.) Often, the noncustodial parent must pay child support to the custodial parent. Child support is vital to ensure that children are adequately taken care of after a divorce.

Need for an Attorney

Many legal questions arise about divorce, child custody and support. People going through a divorce often need help obtaining child support, and may have questions about paying and collecting child support. An experienced attorney can help navigate you through all the challenges presented by divorce, child custody and support issues.