In cases of divorce or paternity, the court will determine the child custody arrangements for the child or children of the parties. The Court will determine a custodial arrangement that is in the “best interest of the children.” Often times the initial visitation schedule established by the parties at the time of separation can be crucial in the Court's determination of a long term custodial plan. Therefore, it is critical that parties involved in a custody proceeding seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney to assist them in navigating their custodial rights. In addition to legal custody, the Court will make a determination as to which parent should be awarded physical custody and set a visitation schedule for the other parent. It is crucial that any order, or agreement, be carefully drafted to deal with issues such whether the agreement is permanent, any possible future modification, how specific the custodial orders are relating to exchanges, holidays and decision making authority, and many other areas of custody law. Ensuring a well drafted custody order is the key to reducing future disputes between the parents which can negatively impact your children, who are already dealing with significant changes and stressful events in their lives as a result of the custody dispute between their parents.
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