Establishing a Child Custody Arrangement
Establishing a child custody arrangement is crucial to determine each parent's duties, rights, and responsibilities in a divorce or legal separation. In Kansas, there are two possible ways to establish a child custody arrangement:
Uncontested Custody Arrangement
Child custody may be uncontested if both parents are able to work together to determine mutually acceptable custody terms and conditions. All agreed-upon terms will be carefully drafted and presented to the court for official approval. Also, an uncontested custody arrangement is cost-efficient, faster, and allows both parents to have more control over the final custody arrangement. An experienced lawyer can help in keeping the conversation productive and on track.
Contested Custody Arrangement
Conversely, child custody may be contested when both parents are unable to agree on the terms and conditions of the custody or parenting plan. In such cases, the Kansas courts will intervene and help resolve custody issues. The presiding judge will consider the best interests and welfare of the child to determine the appropriate child custody order. In the event that your custody battle ends up in court, a knowledgeable lawyer can help present your case meticulously and improve your prospects of getting a favorable outcome.
Joint Legal Custody vs. Sole Custody
Legal custody has to do with the rights and responsibilities of the parents and could be joint or sole. In joint legal custody, both parents will be involved in making major decisions regarding the child's upbringing, including the child's education, religious training, medical care, and extracurricular activities. Joint custody is often encouraged by Kansas family courts because it enables both parents to participate in their child's life and upbringing.
Conversely, sole custody means that one parent will be responsible for making all the major life decisions affecting the child. Also, the child will live with the parent with sole custody, while the other parent may have specified visitation rights.
Factors Considered in Determining Custody
In a contested child custody arrangement, the Kansas court will determine legal custody and residency based on the child's best interests. The following factors may be considered when determining custody:
- The role and involvement of each parent with their child before and after their separation
- The desire for residency or custody by each parent
- The child's age and reasonable preference
- The physical and emotional needs of the child
- The child's ability to adjust to a new home, school, and community
- The willingness of each parent to work together, collaborate, and permit a continuing relationship with the other parent
- Any history or evidence of domestic abuse, child abuse, or neglect
- The location of the child's school
- The child's school activity schedule
- Each parent's work schedule
- The location of each parent's home and workplace
- Any other factor the court deems necessary in determining the best interests of the child
It is important to understand that each custody case is unique. A knowledgeable attorney can review your unique situation and work diligently to address and resolve custody issues amicably.
Modifying an Existing Child Custody Arrangement
Child custody arrangements are not set in stone. To modify an existing child custody arrangement, the parent seeking the modification must show that:
- There has been a "material change of circumstances" since the existing custody order that makes the order inappropriate.
- A new custody order will serve your child's best interest.
Some major life events that give you the opportunity to request a change to your existing child custody agreement include:
- A change in the physical condition or mental health of either parent
- Loss of employment by the custodial parent
- Failure of the custodial parent to keep up with their end of the custody agreement
- The custodial parent is acting abusive or negligent
- Perceived danger to the child as a result of domestic abuse or neglect in the custodial parent's house
- A change in the work schedule of either parent
- The other parent continuously ignores scheduled parenting time
- The death of the custodial parent
- One parent has repeatedly and unreasonably denied the other parent parenting time
An experienced family law attorney can help protect your custody rights and explore your possible legal options to modify the existing arrangement.
Family Law Attorneys With 50 Years of Experience
Determining child custody often involves a lot of complex procedures. Establishing a parenting plan, determining parental responsibility, and allocating visitation schedules with your estranged spouse can make the whole process even more stressful and overwhelming. Therefore, when trying to establish or change a child custody agreement, you need to consult with an experienced family law attorney to explore your possible options and navigate key decisions.
With more than 50 years of experience representing Flint Hill's community members on a wide variety of family legal issues, we at Oleen Law Firm have the knowledge and resources to assist and guide individuals and families through the complexities of divorce proceedings and establishing child custody. As your legal counsel, we will evaluate every surrounding detail of your unique situation and enlighten you about your available legal options.
Using our in-depth knowledge of the laws addressing child custody in family law cases, we can guide you through the processes involved in establishing or modifying child custody agreements and parenting time. With our committed approach to our client's concerns, we will fight compassionately to protect your custody rights, your family's best interests, and your future. Having our team on your side can improve your chances of the best possible outcome in your child custody case.