Child Custody and Support Newsletters
Many states require parents to undergo mediation or other forms of alternate dispute resolution before a court will consider the custody of a child, unless the court finds that mediation would be inappropriate, such as when there are allegations of abuse.
All states have child support guidelines that enable a court to calculate basic child support. While use of the guidelines is required, they do not cover children after age 18 or graduation from high school nor do they cover some of the extras that children want and need. At times, using a mediator may help parents work through the financial conflicts.
The fact that a parent remarries does not, of itself, require any change in the custody of a child. After a divorce, parents are free to form new relationships. As long as that new relationship does not adversely affect a child, the court is unlike to make a change in custody.
Prior to making a determination of custody of a child, the court may order a medical, psychological, or social evaluation of the child or the parents, or all of them. As part of the evaluation, the court may request that the doctor, psychologist, or other professional expert give a report and make a recommendation as to custody and visitation.
In awarding or modifying custody, one of the factors considered by a court is the preference of a child, However, the extent to which the court will consider an expressed wish and how much weight the court will give that wish depends on the age and maturity of the child and the circumstances under which the choice was made.