Protecting Your Parent-Child Relationship --- Wyoming Child Custody Lawyer
Whether you are involved in a divorce or a paternity action, your relationship with your children will be profoundly impacted by custody and visitation orders in a judgment. Child custody is actually comprised of two separate types of custody – legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make significant decisions about a child’s future. Physical custody refers to where your children reside.
Both forms of custody can be awarded solely to one parent or jointly to both parents. Wyoming judges use the “best interest of the child standard” to award custody. Unless there are serious concerns about the fitness of a parent or a parent is not present in a child’s life, courts usually presume that joint legal custody is in a child’s best interest.
Determining the Best Interest of the Child – Relevant Factors
The best interest of the child test is based on a range of factors that the judge must consider. The judge will consider evidence provided by each parent regarding a broad range of factors, which makes determining physical custody a highly subjective process. This inherent subjectivity makes it imperative to have an experienced attorney to protect your interests and the welfare of your children. The Wyoming Law Firm of Arnold Law Offices, PLLC, has been represents parents in custody disputes. Persuasively presented evidence in contested child custody cases should account for the following factors:
- The parent who is children's primary caregiver
- Child’s relationship with each parent
- Willingness of either parent to accept parenting responsibilities
- Ability of each parent to provide for his or her children’s needs
- Physical and mental capacity to care for their children
- Parental willingness to cooperate with the other parent and encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent
Practical Considerations Affecting Wyoming Child Custody Cases
The extent to which parents can cooperate typically has a significant impact on child custody cases in the context of a divorce or a paternity action. If parents negotiate a mutually acceptable timesharing arrangements for physical custody, the stress on the parents and children along with the financial costs of a custody dispute can be reduced. While negotiated physical custody orders might not be considered ideal by either parent, they often are far more acceptable than orders imposed by a judge who has limited knowledge of your family relationships and circumstances.
Even if an agreement cannot be reached, the court will closely consider the willingness of a parents to support and encourage a continuing relationship with the other parent. If you take the high road by cooperating with the other parent, this attitude can positively influence a judge’s ruling. By contrast, if the other parent makes disparaging comments or encourages your child not to exercise parenting time with you, this type of parental alienation often adversely affects a parent’s case.
Another critical factor that often has a practical impact on custody cases is stability. If a child is adjusting well physically, intellectually and emotionally, judges might be hesitant to make changes to the status quo. If one parent moves out of the family home, for example, the parent left in the family residence with the children might have an advantage. The judge also might favor a parent who lives close enough to the children’s school to avoid the need to pull the children out of their school.
If you are concerned about a child custody dispute in a divorce or paternity case, Wyoming Child Custody Law Firm Arnold Law Offices is committed to being part of the solution rather than part of the problem. This commitment means working diligently to negotiate amicable child custody arrangements, but also being prepared to ensure that your parental rights and interests are protected.