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2 ways that child custody decisions are made

The divorce process will change you in many ways. From your personal life to your finances, you should prepare for anything and everything that could come your way.

Just as important, you must provide a stable environment for your children during this difficult time. Neglecting to do so can result in a variety of issues, both now and in the future.

Generally speaking, child custody decisions are made in one of two ways:

  • Informal settlement negotiations: For example, mediation gives you and the other parent full control over the process. While a mediator is available to assist and move things along, this person doesn't have the legal power to make final decisions. It's up to you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to negotiate and compromise.
  • Litigation: If mediation fails, your case will move to the courtroom. At this point, you and the other parent don't have nearly as much power. Instead, the judge will make child custody decisions based on what's best for your children.

Which option is best?

This depends largely on your particular situation. For example, if you're confident in your ability to negotiate child custody terms with the other parent, mediation may work in your favor.

Conversely, if neither of you is willing to budge, you may be best off taking your case to court.

Regardless of where things stand or the approach you're taking, it's critical to understand the process and your legal rights. Knowledge of what to expect will help you make decisions that work in your favor, putting you in position to put your divorce in the past soon enough.

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