In nearly every kind of legal proceeding, foresight is everything, and child custody negotiations aren't any different -- especially when you're trying to negotiate a workable coparenting agreement with the other parent of your child. When parents have foresight, and the benefit of legal knowledge and experience, they can include specific language in their parenting plans that will help them circumnavigate potential problems later down the road.
A hundred years ago, when a woman had a child out of wedlock, there wasn't any way for the courts to determine who the father was. They could look at the physical characteristics of the child and take a guess, but beyond hunches and guesswork, there was no way to know for sure. These days, if a child is born to unmarried parents, legal avenues exist through which the mother can establish paternity for the purpose of collecting child support. The biological father can also step forward to establish paternity for the purpose of gaining visitation rights.
If you ask a child psychologist, he or she will probably tell you that joint child custody is preferred. Child psychologists like the idea of children spending half their time with you and half their time with the other parent because it gives them as much time as possible with both parents -- and this has a positive effect on their growth and development. At the same time, however, psychologists will also agree that a 50-50 custody split is not appropriate in all situations.
There's no way to predict what will happen in your post-divorce life. However, if you're a parent, you will need to do your best to look into the future and prepare for every contingency. This is the task that's asked of parents when they set out to draft a parenting plan that supports their needs and protects them and their children from the threat of disagreements later down the line.
In the olden days of English common law, the father automatically kept custody of his children in the case of a child custody disagreement. Fathers held the legal right to have physical custody of their children, including the earnings and labor of their children. The courts of the time believed fathers should retain this right because the fathers -- as the financial rulers of their households -- paid to educate, train and support their children.
If you're in the throes of a child custody dispute, you probably know that courts give more weight to the parent considered to be the "primary caretaker." If, for example, there's a disagreement about who the children should live with, the judge will probably rule that they should live with the primary caretakers.
Some children have special needs that don't exactly fit into the box. Perhaps your child has developmental difficulties relating to motor skills, cognition or psychology -- or maybe your child has a medical condition that requires constant attention, special treatments and care. Maybe your child simply doesn't like to be separated from mom and her house for more than a day.
Marriage isn't always going to be easy. You and your spouse will no doubt get into plenty of disagreements even if you're in a perfectly loving relationship. That said, couples do need to draw the distinction between healthy marital spats and unresolvable problems that never seem to go away.
Irreconcilable differences. You've heard the phrase many times while reading about celebrity divorce proceedings. Although you never thought you'd see "irreconcilable differences" written out in your own divorce papers, you always knew what it means. It's the polite or legally appropriate way of saying that two people were incompatible. To put it another way, two people with irreconcilable differences might have been arguing day in and day out, non-stop, for years before they finally decided to call it quits on their marriage.
As it turns out, your choice of profession could have something to do with your future ability to stay married. A study compiled from U.S. Census Bureau data from 2015 looked at divorce rates for people in different career tracks and discovered that certain jobs had seemed to promote their workers being divorced more than other jobs.