As the definition of families continues to evolve, different family law issues are presented in court. This has also increased the need for legal advice from a family law attorney on how to handle non-traditional families going through a divorce. Here are some options and trends for families coping with divorce and child custody.
Co-parenting After a Divorce
Although not a new idea, the use of co-parenting counseling in cases involving divorce continues to increase. AGuardian Ad Litem (persons appointed by the court to represent “the best interests of the child” in court proceedings) will request co-parenting counseling as a part of the divorce proceedings.
It has also been shown that co-parenting after a divorce can also benefit the children. Successful co-parenting is beneficial overall to a child’s social and emotional development, including the child’s behavior, academic achievement and psychological well-being.
Counselors are involved in co-parenting to ensure that the parents are communicating in a positive and effective way. The goal for co-parenting is to help parents maintain an amicable relationship for the sake of the children.
Fathers Raising the Children
Women continue to focus on their careers instead lieu of starting a family after finishing school. Many women are waiting to get married and having children later in their careers. As a result, women have become the main providers and will return to their careers shortly after their children are born. The need for childcare increases, leaving some families to rely on a stay-at-home-father to raise their children. In a divorce, this can give the father the leverage he needs to get custody and additional visits with the child.
In many ways, this is a positive trend as a relationship with both parents, versus being raised mainly or even solely by a mother after divorce, is usually in the child’s best interests.
Relatives Raising Children
Millions of children are being raised by their grandparents or other relatives. According to an article posted on pewtrusts.org (a global research and public policy organization, dedicated to serving the public) the number of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren is going up and increasingly it’s because their own kids are addicted to heroin or prescription drugs, or have died from an overdose. For some, it’s a challenge with little help available. In 2005, 2.5 million children were living with grandparents who were responsible for their care. By 2015, that number had risen to 2.9 million.
Grandparents are also raising their grandchildren due to abuse, neglect, mental health issues, domestic violence, incarceration and death of parents. Studies have shown that children adapt better in family guardianship rather than being taken in by Child Protective Services and placed with foster families. Children who are raised by their grandparents, short or long term, have fewer placement changes and behavioral problems. Additional benefits include increased likelihood of keeping siblings together, decreased likelihood of runaways and increased emotional bonding.
Regardless for your family situation, a consultation with a family law attorney can help you make the best decision for your family and circumstances. Understanding your legal rights and obligations will help you get through unusual family arrangements when it comes to child custody.