As unfortunate as it is for the two people involved directly, divorce can have a significant effect on the entire family as well. This is particularly true for any children of the parents being divorced, who will have to deal with a lot of unfamiliar emotions plus a potential battle for custody that can turn their lives upside down.
At the offices of Day Shell & Liljenquist, LC, our top priority in divorce and child custody cases is the care of the child or children in question. One common question we get from clients in this area: Who gets custody of children while the divorce is going through its process? The answer depends on how amicable you can be with the other party in your divorce. Let’s go over some basics.
In cases where the two sides of a divorce are able to communicate somewhat normally and maintain a working dialogue, establishing temporary custody during the phases of a divorce will be much simpler. This is true even if you still disagree on some of the finer points of the divorce – the ability to have a calm, rational conversation about the best interests of children can show through these kinds of disagreements.
In these situations, you and your attorneys will negotiate a temporary custody agreement together. The priority here in most cases, especially if a permanent judgement on custody is still to come down the line, is to think about the best schedule that works for the children themselves. Think about the following factors:
- Which parent is available to spend the most time with and best care for the children.
- Whose home is nearest to the kids’ schools and other common locations.
- The child or children’s own personal preference.
If at all possible, we aim for these kinds of peaceful resolutions to temporary custody arrangements. They help shield children from the uglier parts of the divorce and make proceedings more amicable all around.
Temporary Court Order
In cases where you and your spouse simply cannot see eye-to-eye and fight on every single detail of the divorce, it may be more difficult to get a peaceful negotiation. The other side might make firm demands they won’t budge on, and you may have to turn to the courts if you want to share custody or believe the child might be in danger by living with the other parent.
The important document here is called a Request for Order, which asks the court to issue a temporary custody order that lasts for the duration of divorce proceedings. Included in this order is an explanation, a request for custody, plus evidence to support the request. The other party will have a chance to formally respond with their own declaration, and then a judge will set two dates:
- Mediation: You and your spouse will meet with a third party mediator to attempt to resolve the dispute one more time. They will speak with you separately and try to find an amicable solution.
- Court: If mediation doesn’t work, both sides will present their case to a judge, who will issue an order that’s in the best interest of the child. This order will be temporary, and will cede to the permanent custody arrangement when the divorce is finalized.
For more on temporary custody arrangement, or to learn about any of our other divorce or family law attorney services, speak to the pros at Day Shell & Liljenquist today.