One of the most difficult aspects of your divorce may be the fact that you will no longer live with your children full-time. You are an active and involved parent, and it could be important to you to remain as close as possible to the youngest members of your family. The terms of your custody and visitation order are critical as they will determine how often you are with your children and other aspects of your relationship with them.
Parents have the right to negotiate the terms of their custody and visitation order, if possible. This means you and the other parent can work together amicably to create a custody and visitation plan that is meaningful for your family and will work well for years to come. Before you go to court or sit down at the negotiating table, you will benefit from seeking a full understanding of your rights as a parent and how you can fight for the right terms in your custody order.
What does a court consider?
Not all South Dakota parents are able to work together cooperatively to create a meaningful custody plan that will work well for their family for years to come. In this case, the parents would go to court, and the court would make custody determinations based on information and documentation presented by both sides. Some of the factors that the court considers when making custody decisions include:
- The quality of the relationship between the parent and the child
- The willingness of the parents to work cooperatively together
- Allegations of abuse or neglect from either parent
- Which parent has provided the majority of the child’s care up to this point
- The ages, maturity levels and preferences of the children
These are only a few of the things that the court will take into consideration when making a decision regarding the custody of your kids. You may present witnesses, documents and other types of evidence in your pursuit of a specific outcome. The goal of any court when making these decisions is to protect the best interests of the kids above all else.
The best outcome for your children
As you consider your custody and visitation options, it is important to focus on whatever outcome will provide your children with as much stability and security as possible. Regardless of your approach, you can fight for terms that will provide you with regular access to your kids and the right to have a say in what happens in their lives.