Most divorcing parents would fight to the bitter end for their rights when it comes to living with their children, and divorce can put their parental rights at stake. In California, child custody is the legal process that determines each parent's rights and responsibilities to their children after divorce. Child custody also includes the custody agreement that indicates visitation rights and arrangements for the non-custodial parent.
Rather than negotiating and agreeing to terms involving their kids, some divorcing parents in California prefer to fight child custody issues in court. When this happens, the child can be prone to stress, anxiety, depression and other consequences. Parents are also exposing the child to constant disagreements that can affect their emotional and mental health. Unfortunately, many divorcing parents forget this consequence. For that reason, a family law expert developed a short film that may encourage parents to think carefully before engaging in contentious custody battles. The film is called "Talk to Strangers" and discusses the different impacts of divorce issues on children, in particular, a contentious custody battle.
Additionally, the expert listed different questions parents should ask themselves that may help them realize the effects of a long custody court fight. There are questions that discuss how a custody battle affects the relationship of the child with the parents and other family members. A child should also be questioned by mental health professionals, court personnel and attorneys to determine the level of stress being experienced.
A child custody battle settled in court gives a judge the right to make a decision regarding where the child will live, the school he or she attends and how each parent spends time with the child. Although the best interests of the child is basis of a child custody decision, every judge has a different idea about what is best for the child. Therefore, parents may want to pursue alternative methods of resolving their child custody disputes.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorcing Parents: 10 Questions to Ask Before Fighting Over the Kids," Rosalind Sedacca, July 21, 2014