When you are going through a divorce, the prospect of having to set up a child custody arrangement can seem daunting. You might worry about an outside evaluator meeting with you to ask you questions about your home, your lifestyle, and your relationship with your child, then deciding where your child should live. This is a very simplified view of the child custody evaluation process and in most cases, you will have plenty of opportunity to provide a detailed account of your parenting style and work with your former spouse and the evaluator to develop a custody arrangement that meets your child’s needs.
In some custody cases, a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is appointed to add a non-biased opinion on the matter. It is important for both parties to understand the GAL’s job, focus, and the weight of his/her decision before deciding whether to ask for this form of advocacy in a child custody case.
There are times when divorcing parents allow their own emotions to cloud their judgment related to what is best for their children. It is most often unintentional, but if not addressed, can have serious long-term consequences. Unfair or lopsided custody and visitation arrangements could result, for example, in one parent overwhelmed by responsibility while the other feels alienated. Possible negative effects are definitely not limited to the adults, and in fact, may be even more severe for the children.
It is not uncommon in divorce cases for each party to retain their own attorney for legal advice and representation through the process. Concerns regarding division of property, spousal support and arrangements for the couple’s children all need to be addressed and eventually resolved. Both sides typically have their own beliefs as to how the agreements should be established, often at odds with those of their spouse. In many cases, litigation is necessary.