Common Myths About Child Custody

Determining child custody is an emotionally exhausting process. In fact it is often the most highly contentious part of a divorce. Due to the controversial nature of child custody, there has been many misconceptions about it.

Myth: Mothers always get custody

It is a common misconception that mothers always get custody, because they are the “greater parent” for bearing the child. It may be true that mothers may get custody if the child is in his or her tender years, but generally, the courts have no biases against genders. The courts will grant custody to the parent who can put the child in a better condition, in terms of health, safety, and other aspects of life. It doesn’t matter whether that parent is the mother or the father.

Myth: A child can choose which side to follow upon reaching a certain age

Another common misconception is that the child has the right to choose a side when he or she reaches a certain age, which is usually twelve to fifteen. It is true that the child may choose which parent to be with, but the choice is not absolute. The best that could happen is that the judge may consider it as a factor in determining custody. Its weight as a factor depends on the child’s age, maturity level, and reason, but at the end of the day, the judge will give custody with the best interest of the child in mind.

Myth: Joint custody means that the child will get equal time with both parents

Parents can gain joint custody over a child, but it doesn’t mean that the child will have equal time with both. Joint custody may mean that both parents may share decisions regarding the child, such as in terms of residence, education, religion, and other important factors that affect the child’s wellbeing. But the child is more likely to spend more time with the parent who he or she is with on a day-to-day basis.

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