Child Custody: Child Custody Orders and Judicial Authority


For many divorced and separated parents with children there will be a common answer as to why they ended up with the child custody and visitation arrangement they have. The answer being, “the judge decided it.” In other words, the judge chose the parenting arrangement you have based on his/her belief of what was in your child’s best interest.

Judges do not always make the child custody decision or choose the parenting plan arrangement for the parent’s. In fact, more often than not, the judge will not make the child custody decision for the parent’s. It is usually when the parent’s are unable to reach an agreement on child custody the judge will choose the parenting arrangement for them. If the judge makes the child custody decision for the parent’s it is often referred to as a final judicial order or judgment on child custody.

Parents typically know what’s best for their children including decisions about child custody and visitation. The difficulty for the parents is often the inability to set apart their own emotions and wishes from the needs of the child. Parents are typically given the greatest amount of flexibility in choosing a parenting plan that reflects the best interest of their child. However, when the parent’s are unable to come to an agreement on child custody and visitation the judge will often be given the task to make the decision about child custody and will also have a tremendous amount of leeway in choosing a parenting plan the he/she thinks is best for the child. This leaves vast room for a judge’s interpretation of what is in the best interest of the child and often leads to arbitrary judicial decisions regarding child custody and visitation.

When the court or judge chooses a parenting plan for the parent’s it will usually result in one or both parents being disappointed or feeling a sense of loss. Typically one parent will feel as though they won child custody while the other parent felt they lost child custody. It’s also not uncommon that both parents end up disappointed with the court or judges decision. Rarely both parents feel as though they won when the court or judge makes the child custody decision.

To avoid arbitrary judicial child custody decision made by the court and judges you would be wise to learn more about how child custody decisions are made and the laws in your particular state. How judges have ruled in the past and what influences his/her decisions. Additionally, you will want to explore alternative dispute resolution options such as child custody mediation, collaborative law, and arbitration. If you are seeking legal advice on how to proceed with your child custody case you can consult a family law attorney in your area who spends a significant amount of his/her practice representing clients on child custody cases.

Copyright © 2007 Child Custody Coach

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