Divorce is not uncommon the United States. The divorce rate is about about 41% for first marriages, about 67% for second marriages, and above 70% for third marriages. While dividing property and financial responsibilities can be difficult, perhaps the most challenging part of divorce is child custody.
More than 80% of the time, children are awarded to their mother, unless the mother is incarcerated or otherwise unable to care for her child or children. In 2009, only about 18% of divorced fathers had custody of their children. This can vary from one case to another, and if you are facing a divorce, it would be best to consult a family law attorney, or a child custody attorney to find out how to proceed in your particular case.
One of the main questions to ask your divorce lawyer is how the court will decide who your children will spend the majority of their time with. A lawyer will be able to go over all of your options, one of which is an uncontested divorce. Couples file for an uncontested divorce if they both agree that their time together has come to an end, and file amicably. If this is how and your spouse want to proceed, there may not be as much hassle regarding where your children will stay. You may be able to work this out with your lawyer, and avoid a costly battle in court. A contested divorce could mean that you need to speak with separate lawyers to fight for your children.
Among many other questions to ask your divorce lawyer is the effect of a custody battle on children. While it is obvious that it will not be easy, you may not realize just how much it affects your children’s overall health. Child custody lawyers will be able to tell you that even though there are no substantial long-term studies on the effect of divorce on children, they are often more likely to act out in school, and could need counseling during and after the divorce. One study shows that children from broken homes are twice as likely to drop out of school, and another reported that more than half of prison inmates came from broken homes. If you do not think that your child will be able to handle the separation, you might want to consider working custody out with your spouse before you decide to fight it out in courts. This might help reduce your child’s anxiety.
One of the most important questions to ask your divorce lawyer could be his or her fees. Court litigation and a custody battle could mean additional costs, as it will often take longer than a contested divorce. You will have to pay your lawyer, plus any court fees that apply. In the long run, an ugly, elongated court divorce could cost you more than you realize, and expose your children to more unpleasant experiences.
Even in the best of situations, divorce is not easy on you or your children. While you may have come to terms with the divorce in your own way, it is unlikely that your children are as lucky. It could take them years to relieve any confusion or pain they might be feeling, making it crucial for you to get all the information about child custody and divorce before you proceed.