Joint custody: Children’s best interests and parental duties

Divorces involving child custody may prove confusing to both parents and children. In Maine, a standard exists that unless one spouse’s circumstances harm the health or safety of children involved, a court will determine that the awarding of joint custody lies in the best interest of children of separating parents.

After determining the best interests of the individual children, a judge will decide the duties and responsibilities that each parent must maintain if awarded joint custody. Doing so, a court can establish a schedule of allowed contact, so that each parent can refer to the court-ordered document if disputes arise. When dealing with child custody, even if a judge leans toward awarding you and your ex-spouse joint custody, you want to hire an experienced family law attorney to help you in filing all necessary documents and receiving maximum custody allowances by the court.

Identifying individual children’s best interest

When looking at the best interest of children of divorcing parents, the court keeps the safety and security of each child in mind when determining custody. The court will reference aspects such as:

  • How old your children are
  • Your relationship and your spouse’s relationship with your children
  • Your children’s preferences, if old enough
  • Your and your spouse’s mental and physical health
  • Whether you and your spouse exhibit cooperation
  • Whether domestic abuse allegations are present

By looking at individual children, a judge consistently measures how each factor of parental responsibilities will affect the family.

Using best interest to determine parental rights

Determining parental rights and responsibilities involves an analysis of your children’s best interest and your and your spouse’s ability to provide for your children.

Awarding these rights includes court-ordered documents stating elements such as:

  • Where the children will reside and on what days
  • Which parent receives the children on holidays, and a future schedule
  • A pick-up and drop-off location and times
  • Giving both parents access to medical and school records

Child custody is the most crucial element in divorces involving children, and Maine courts recognize that awarded custody rights should not be overlooked. Determining your children’s best interests and deciding parental rights involves significant preparation and thought, but after reasonable consideration, your parenting rights and responsibilities will allow for a smooth transition into life after divorce.