Divorced Parents Battle Over The Affections Of Only Child, 11
His parents divorced in 2018, but his parents have been locked in a tug-of-war ever since over the affections of their 11-year-old child who is now caught in the middle of this terrible contest. In most cases, courts will consider the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements and parents have little issue putting their children first, even when it means making personal sacrifices. So, the question then becomes: How does a scenario like this occur and what can parents do to avoid it?
In this case, the custody battle did not occur in the United States, but similar battles do brew in our court system and in most cases, the situation is decided in terms of disrupting the child’s life as little as possible. Since mothers tend to stay with the home, and preventing disruption means keeping the child where they are, the courts would generally keep the child in the home with the mother and allow the father visitation. In cases where the situation is so acrimonious that the parents can no longer communicate effectively with one another, a decision would have to be reached as to who has final decision-making power or power of attorney over the child. Once again, while multiple factors would be considered, the tendency would be to consider the child’s interests first. That ultimately means keeping the child where they are in the family home.
The hope, of course, is that you would avoid a tug-of-war with the child caught in the middle. Ultimately, the U.S. courts seek to avoid a scenario like this because neither parent in this scenario is considering the interests of the child and instead appears to be using the child to harm the other parent.
How do U.S. courts handle embittered parents who cannot agree?
Parents who present conflicting claims against the other parent often find themselves appealing to court-ordered experts and specialists that speak on behalf of the child. Since the court assumes the parents have lost control of the situation and can no longer work together toward the best interests of the child, the decision is reached on the basis of expert assessments. In these cases, the court must decide which parent has legal custody, a concept that differs from visitation or other considerations. Legal custody means that the parent has the right to decide on educational choices, medical choices, and other considerations, such as where the child lives. The other parent may have the right to visit the child, but they would not be able to make these key decisions for the child.
Ultimately, the matter needs to be revisited again and again as the excluded parent fights for their rights. This creates a situation where the divorce feels like it’s never over. In cases where the parents cannot agree on the best interests of the children, hearings related to custody can go on indefinitely until the child is of legal age.
Talk to a Tampa, FL Child Custody Lawyer Today
It is always preferable for parents to present a unified parenting agreement for the court’s review rather than make accusations and leave the decision to the courts and experts. Call the Tampa family lawyers at Faulkner Law Group, PLLC today to schedule an appointment and we can discuss your situation right away.