This is our third article in our segment of answering frequently asked questions by adults and kids in regards to divorce. If you missed our first two segments you can find the first one here. And the second one here.
How Do Courts Determine Custody and Other Divorce Matters?
The courts chief concern is the best interests of the child. The following are some things that the court may look at in determining custody and other matters:
- Childs relationship w/ parents/siblings (usually goes to primary caregiver)
- Physical / mental health of the child
- Adjustment for child in regards to school, community, where child is currently living
- Your views and preferences
- Stability of parents current home
- Future plans parent’s have for you (such as which school they intended you to go to before separation)
Do I have To Go To Court?
No. You’re not the one getting the divorce. And it’s actually rare for children to testify at court. If you are asked to testify and you do not want to you can always tell the lawyer the court appoints to you or the judge that you do not want to testify. But, do not worry if your asked to testify. The judge just wants to know your thoughts and decide in whichever way best helps you out.
What Can I Do If I Want To Change My Custody Or Visiting Arrangements?
One of your parents must agree to such a change.
Can My Step-parent Or My Parent’s New Girlfriend/Boyfriend/Significant Other Discipline Me or Tell Me What To Do?
Whether a new adult that comes into your life can discipline you is something that you must discuss with your parents. The court may only step in if there is a dangerous situation.
Usually the parent you do not live with will give the parent you do live with money so that the parent you live with can buy you anything you need. From food and clothes, to after school activities. A divorce does not mean your family will struggle for money. The court will make certain you are provided for and that money will spent on you appropriately. This is true even if you find out that your parent has another family, they still must pay for you.