Going from seeing one's children on a daily basis to once a week is a huge transition not just for divorcing Louisiana parents, but also for their children. However, this does not have to be the only option. As mentioned previously on this blog, judges are now favoring joint custody awards, giving both parents equal access to children and allowing them to develop a relationship with their children.
The benefits of having both parents involved in their children's upbringing post divorce have been discussed recently on this East Baton Rouge Family Law Blog. As mentioned previously, when fathers maintain a healthy relationship with the children, it improves their self-esteem and reduces the instances of psychological or behavioral problems. This is why courts also lean towards awarding joint custody and parents try to create a child custody arrangement that reflects it.
When Louisiana residents think of their options for child custody after a divorce, they may take the traditional view -- one of the parents is a primary caretaker -- the custodial parent -- while the other gets visitation rights, typically over the weekend and alternate holidays. However, this norm is changing. It is moving more into what is really best for the child, rather than what the wants of the parents. And, research has shown again and again that a father's involvement in the child's life is in their best interests. Children are shown to have lesser psychological and behavioral problems if parents have joint custody post divorce.
Most parents want to spend the holidays with their children and when they are all living together as a single unit, that is traditionally how the festive season is spent. But when the Louisiana couple ends up divorcing one another, then the holidays are also split between the two new households. Those going through a divorce or already divorced understand that the holidays bring with them difficult conversations and negotiations about who will spend which holiday and which day with the children. Courts are often backed up with couples arguing over who gets to spend time with kids when.
Whether you're in the midst of your divorce or just considering broaching the subject, as a parent, your children are probably the number one issue on your mind.
Technology now plays a role in practically everything Louisiana residents do. From their smartphones individuals can order groceries, buy clothing that will be delivered to their doors, catch up on the news, communicate with friends and family members, find dates, manage work commitments and a plethora of other activities. Electronic connectivity is making the world smaller and is now impacting the way that some families handle their custodial and visitation responsibilities.
When coming up with child custody arrangements post-divorce, Louisiana residents may often consider the traditional options that would be in their child's best interests when it comes to joint physical custody and legal custody. Even though parents and courts alike try to ensure the time spent with each parent is equal to the other, it often involves a lot of upheaval for children, such as kids packing up and going from one house to another routinely. This causes confusion and the eventual phone call asking for homework or a violin to be brought from one location to another, for example.
Once a couple decides to end their marriage, it means they are terminating most of their rights and duties for and to one another. But when children are involved, the obligations to the children remain very much alive. That means that the divorcing couple has to figure out how they are going to share custody of their children; where the children will physically live and how decisions regarding the children's future will be made. In addition to this, parents also have to figure out how the parent without physical custody will visit the children. Usually, a non-custodial parent cannot just get up on a whim and decide that they want to pick up the kids from school.
As the beginning of the school year approaches, many children returning to school in Louisiana may be nervous about their new beginnings. A new class, new friends or a new school altogether can cause children of all ages anxiety about their first day. When the child's parents have gone through a divorce during the summer and are now living separately for the first time, the first day of school can be even more overwhelming. There are, however, a number of steps divorced parents can take to ensure their child's first day back goes as smoothly as possible.
Last week's blog discussed the best interests of the child standard as it pertains to custody decisions. When making child custody decisions, courts assess a number of factors to determine what is in the best interests of the children in question before making a child custody order. Generally, Louisiana courts lean towards awarding joint physical custody if the parents are in close proximity to one another. However, when this does not happen, then the parent who does not have primary custody, also referred to as the noncustodial parent, has to work out a visitation schedule.