With divorce comes a whole host of legal issues. Child custody, child support, visitation, alimony, and property division are some of the aspects of a divorce that may bring about disputes. In these situations, emotions often run high, making it very difficult to come to an agreement. This means many of these issues will go to court and be heard and decided by a judge. Yet, issues of child custody may arise even absent a divorce, when the state believes the child is in danger. When it comes to child custody, the best interest of the child should always be the top priority. This is evidenced by one recent, somewhat bizarre custody case.
In that instance, a boy was removed from the custody of his father after reported violence in the home. What made the case unique was the names of the children and the father's behavior. The children were given Nazi names, which some claim led to the initial investigation of the family. The father, who appeared at the court hearing wearing a Nazi uniform, plans to appeal the court's ruling.
Though this case does not relate to divorce, it helps highlight how courts determine what is in a child's best interests, which plays a pivotal role in divorce cases. When a court hears a custody case, several factors are considered in determining the child's best interests. Amongst these factors are the financial and emotional stability of each home, whether violence exists in the home, the relationship between the children and each parent, and the parenting time each parent contributed to the child.
Child custody determinations are very fact specific, and a court has a lot of discretion in determining whether to award sole custody, joint custody, and visitation. An experienced family law attorney can help a parent develop an argument that gives the child the best home possible, and, if in the child's best interests, keeps both parent's active in the child's life.
Source: NBC Philadelphia, "Custody Denied to Nazi-Naming Dad," Jul. 12, 2013