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Options on child custody

When a North Dakota couple with children is getting a divorce, child custody can be one of the most contentious issues. The best interests of the child is the legal standard to be applied by the court. All parents, at heart, do want what's best for their children. Today, there are a variety of options as to how to handle child custody.

Children should, of course, never be used as pawns or bargaining chips. It is important for a parent to honestly assess what they think would be best for their child and then speak frankly with their attorney about what it is that they hope to achieve.

Joint legal custody, in which the two parents, although no longer spouses, share custody of the children, is one way to go, and it can be very workable when the two parents are cooperative. This is a solution that may not be workable, of course, if one parent has a history of domestic violence or child abuse or is simply indifferent to their role as a parent.

In joint custody situations, the two parents must cooperate in making educational decisions and decisions about religious instruction, social activities and health care. There are many circumstances where this may not be a good fit, however, such as when one parent travels extensively for business and is not usually available to be involved in a major way in their child's daily life.

Sole custody by one parent is certainly a common arrangement. This will usually also make a difference as to the amount of child support to be paid, since the child will be in the home of only one parent the vast majority of the time. Regardless of the custody arrangement, there are many ways in which parents who are ex-spouses must learn to cooperate and communicate together over time for the good of the children.

American News Report, "How to Handle Child Custody in a Divorce" No author given, Oct. 08, 2013

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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