Child Custody Issues

Written by Michael O'Brien
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Whether due to divorce, or a parent's lack of fitness to care for their children, there are many child custody issues to consider. One of the goals of this site will be to analyze the different considerations in a child custody situation, including child custody laws in different states. But we'll also look at the effects this type of situation has on children, and what can be done about it.

Divorce and Child Custody Issues

When parents decide to end a marriage, custody of the children becomes an issue. Who will be the child's primary guardian? Matters like this are often decided on a case by case basis, but different states have different laws regarding joint child custody issues.

One of the major child custody disputes that divorced couples face often involves sole custody of a child. Certainly, an unfit parent may make sole custody by the other essential. But bitterness between a couple can also be a motivation for wanting sole custody of a child. If this the case, there is the child to consider. Studies show that as long as it isn't harmful to a child to do so, spending as much quality time as possible with both parents is the healthiest thing for them.

Unfit Parents

Another of the most common child custody issues occurs when children must be taken away from their parents and put into foster care. Parents who are violent, incarcerated, substance abusers, or otherwise physically or mentally impaired can find themselves in a situation where they can be deemed unfit to care for a child.

Again, different laws in different states determine what steps need to be taken to reconcile child custody when the fitness of a parent to care for a child comes into question. Being aware of these laws and issues is the first step towards beginning the healing process for parents and children.

A Child's Right to Choose

Lastly, one of the most important child custody issues to consider is in what a child wants, verses their best interests. At a certain age and in some cases, a child has the legal right to choose which parent they want to live with. But in other cases, if a child chooses to stay with an abusive, or otherwise unfit parent, then their best interests aren't being served.

So how do these matters get reconciled? It can often be a long, complicated process. Again, the most important thing to consider is the child's well being. Are personal feelings towards a spouse affecting one's judgment? Is a parent really unfit? Before putting a child through the agony of being taken away from a parent, it's important that it be for the right reasons.

Child Custody as a Way of Life

It's unfortunate, but as the divorce rate for parents keeps rising, and the fact that crime, violent behavior, and substance abuse is becoming more of a problem with parents as well, children are often the innocent victims of child custody issues. Nothing can ease the pain completely, but the damage can be minimized. Although it helps to know what legal issues to consider in a child custody situation, it ultimately comes down to something much more simple. What's best for the child in the long run? Careful consideration of this is the only real issue.

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