Hearings About Your Kids Before a Final Divorce Decree

child-custody

If you’re in a marriage that’s not working, you might try counseling. Maybe you might take some time apart. You may reach a point, though, when you feel you should go your separate ways.

If you have a divorce on the horizon, you’ll probably need a child custody lawyer. Child custody attorneys can represent you in court, and you can hopefully reach a point where you can share custody so you’ll both feel satisfied.

Before you get a final divorce decree, you must go through some steps regarding your children. Here are some ones you should expect.

Joint or Primary Custody Arrangements

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During this hearing or these hearings, you and your spouse can explain whether you want joint custody or whether one person will keep the kids for all or most of the time going forward. Maybe you feel you should have the kids on the weekend or every other week.

If you and your spouse agree, these hearings should go fairly smoothly. You can tell the judge what you both want and eventually, you can sign some paperwork stipulating that.

Visitation Rights

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If one person gets sole custody, the other one may still want visitation rights. Again, this becomes much easier if you both agree. 

If you want more visitation rights, and the other person feels you should have less, you may argue during this stage. It can get very contentious, but in time, you should hash out all of the relevant details.

Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings

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This won’t happen with all divorce cases. A juvenile delinquency proceeding usually happens if you and your spouse have a child, and that child acted out in some way. This occurs relatively frequently with fighting parents and broken homes.

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Maybe your child committed an act like vandalism or theft. No matter what they did, you must attend the proceeding while the judge determines what they’ll do. 

They might leave the child with you or the other parent if you promise you’ll watch them going forward. They may also take the child and put them in a juvenile detention facility if they did something egregious.

Neglect Proceedings

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If you have a child or children, and you’re not caring for them properly while you’re divorcing your spouse, a judge might order a neglect proceeding. They may determine that you’re not fit parents at the moment. Till you start acting more responsibly, the judge might send the children away.

They should go into foster care. You can usually get them back once you’ve completed the divorce proceedings and one or both parents show you’re gainfully employed and have a stable household where the child or children can thrive.

Once you get through all this, you can start living separate lives, and you should feel better. The kids might struggle with the new arrangement, but they should accept it in time. You might get them into therapy if you think that’s necessary so they can discuss their feelings.  

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