Things to Consider When Children Are Involved in a DivorcePublished: May 31, 2017 in Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce
Written by Anthony Piccirilli
Coming to terms with the end of your marriage is difficult enough before considering child custody. You need time to consider your own feelings, separate your living arrangements and possessions, and re-organize your finances. You have to navigate the tumultuous waters of answering your families’ questions, and sometimes, saying goodbye to long-time friends. Yet once you turn your attention to child custody and visitation, the situation becomes even more complex. Issues that may not have mattered to you and your spouse, such as heavy drinking or recreational drug use, may suddenly have a spotlight shined on them.
You need to be ready for what a child custody proceeding is actually like and the factors that will matter most to courts. To prepare for your child custody proceedings, call our Pittsburgh divorce lawyers from Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 to schedule a consultation.
Important Questions to Ask When Children Are Part of a Divorce
A number of issues can become relevant during a child custody case. However, there are a few key questions you should ask yourself before heading to court, including:
- Do you or the other parent drink heavily?
Alcohol can become a contentious issue during custody proceedings and is difficult for judges to navigate. If you believe your child’s other parent drinks too much, demonstrating this in court can sway the custody determination in your favor. However, the topic of drinking alcohol at home is tough for judges because it is not always clear cut as to whether someone suffers from an alcohol use disorder or simply enjoys a few drinks after a long day at work. You might see drinking a bottle of wine each night as alcoholism while the other parent enjoys wine and relaxing. If you believe your child’s other parent is an alcoholic and puts your child’s physical and emotional wellbeing at stake, contact a Pittsburgh child custody attorney from Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC right away.
- Do you or the other parent use a controlled substance?
While alcohol can be a gray area during a custody proceeding, controlled substances are not. The possession or use of controlled substances is clearly prohibited by law and not tolerated by family courts. If you believe your child’s other parent uses an illegal drug, then your attorney can request a drug test. A positive drug test result as well as other evidence, such as an arrest or conviction record for a drug-related offense, will shift custody in your favor and make it extremely difficult for the other parent to receive custody and visitation. The other parent will face an uphill climb to show they are not a danger to their child.
- Do you and the other parent have adequate living arrangements?
During a custody battle, your and the other parent’s living arrangements will be reviewed. This includes ensuring both of you have a proper place for your child to sleep, eat, complete homework, and play. It is fine for an apartment to be small or aged. However, it is not OK for a living arrangement to be so small as to not accommodate the child’s needs. This issue can be particularly hard for the parent who left the family home during a divorce and may have to rely on hotels or small apartments for a time being. If you are worried about your or the other parent’s living arrangements and how they could affect custody, call us today.
- Will another adult live with your child?
You or your child’s other parent may be living with another adult during this time. It could be a new romantic partner, a friend, roommate, or family member. Since this other adult will be around your child, the court will want to know more about them. While this adult does not need to become involved in your custody proceedings, the court will want to know whether this individual has any history of criminal conduct, domestic violence, alcoholism, or drug abuse. Any negative aspects of this person’s history can affect whether the parent living with them gets custody.
- What do you expect from the child custody proceedings?
When you and your child’s other parent head into custody discussions, you may both bring with an over-idealized view of how custody works. For example, many parents think a 50/50 split is the fairest situation and best for their child. However, if you have gone back to school on top of working 40 hours a week, it may not make sense for you to have custody when you have class, during which your child would need to be with a babysitter or home alone. At Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC, we will work with you to review what is truly best for your child and how you can maximize the quality of time you have with your child, not simply the quantity of it. More custody time does not necessarily equate to a more meaningful relationship with your child. Additionally, by not fighting for a custody arrangement that does not make sense, you prove to the judge that you are putting your child’s needs before your own desires.
Contact Our Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyers for Help
If you and your spouse need to work out a custody arrangement for your kids, consider calling us at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC to learn more about your parent rights, how custody hearings go, and what could sway the judge in favor of granting you or the other parent a majority of custody. If there are no signs that you or the other parent are a danger to your kids, then you may want as equitable of a custody arrangement as possible. However, if you are concerned about your children staying with their other parent, you may need to fight to limit their custody or visitation.
To learn more, call us at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 to schedule a free initial consultation.