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Custody cases can be decided by a judge: Be proactive

When you go through a divorce or separation, it's vital to put your child's needs first. The best interests of your child are always going to be the court's main priority, as they should be yours. If you and your spouse can't resolve your child custody decisions outside court, then the court will use its power to choose for you in the interests of your child.

When it comes to custody cases, there are many factors to consider. Courts look at them all and make an informed decision based on testimonies from family and friends, reports from either parent and even from the child him or herself. In most cases, the court wants to see both parents remain in the child's life and have the strong bond that is typical in a parent-child relationship. There are some cases in which the court may determine one parent isn't fit to raise a child or that shared custody isn't going to work.

To avoid having the court decide your child's custody arrangements for you, you need to make them yourself. You and your spouse can go to mediation or arbitration sessions if you are having a hard time coming up with terms that you can agree on. If you allow the case to go to court, you'll have no say in the outcome and may not be in agreement with the judge's decision.

Whether you're fighting a stubborn spouse or just aren't sure what kind of parenting plan to create, it's in you and your spouse's interests to work it out between yourselves. Your attorneys can help you negotiate if necessary.

Source: FindLaw, "Focusing on the "Best Interests" of the Child," accessed Oct. 12, 2017

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