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A divorce and child custody guide: breaking down a break up

At the time of a marital breakup, you will likely be concerned for the continued welfare of your children. Depending on the individual circumstances of the parent, you may utilize one of several types of custody arrangements. Parents can choose an informal or formal method of reaching a custody and support agreement. Staying present for the children emotionally can be important, too.

Luckily, this terrain is well-traveled, and experts have documented some of the basics of child custody and divorce. From the types of arrangements to reaching an agreement with your spouse and determining child support, when you become more informed about all the aspects of the divorce process and the potential options available to you, you will be better prepared to face any negotiations.

Types of arrangements

There are several types of possible custody arrangements. Joint physical custody allows parents to share the physical care of their children. In some cases, joint physical custody isn't applicable, and one parent will be awarded sole physical custody. Usually, the non-custodial parent will still have visitation right with the child. In North Carolina, grandparents typically have visitation rights as well.

Legal custody is separate from physical custody. It gives a parent the right to make important decisions about his or her child's upbringing, and in many cases, joint legal custody is granted to both parents.

Reaching an agreement

You may choose to reach your custody agreement informally between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If certain circumstances prevent this, then you could opt for mediation. In some cases in which the parents can't agree, they will find themselves heading to court. In all of these cases, the court will still have to finalize your custody agreement for it to be legally binding.

Child support payments

If you and your ex don't have an equal share of custody, or a roughly equal income, you may find the need for child support payments. A non-custodial parent is often responsible for paying child support. A parent with a much higher income will often pay child support to allow the children as little disruption to their lifestyles as possible.

Emotional support tips

Respect and tact can help you preserve the peace and protect your children from unnecessary drama during this trying time. Try not to talk much about the details of the divorce with your kids, and always let them know that you and the other parent love them very much. Divorce can be a challenging, but by seeking proper support and becoming as familiar as possible with all of the intricacies involved, you can put yourself in position to move toward a brighter future.

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