How Does A Divorce Work with A Child?
Written by Kristine Reich

How Does A Divorce Work with A Child?

Deciding on the custody of a child when getting a divorce is not a simple matter. Child custody determinations are largely governed by state law. Here are some basic:

Parental Responsibility After Divorce

If you share a child with your partner, you will typically share responsibility for that child in some fashion after your separation. If you and the other parent cannot reach an agreement regarding decisions related to your child, the court may ultimately make the decisions for you.

Parents who share joint legal decision-making authority must discuss and agree on medical, educational, religious education and personal care decisions related to their children. In most cases, parents are expected to make these decisions together.

Likewise, parents are expected to share time and day-to-day responsibility for their children, even after they separate. Many parents share time equally, choosing a schedule that is age-appropriate and logistically feasible for everyone involved. In other cases, parents share time unequally, with one parent’s home designated as the child’s primary residence. Sharing parenting time also includes sharing holidays, school breaks, vacations and other activities and events related to the children.

Figuring out Custody After A Divorce with a Child

Parents who divorce peacefully can decide between themselves how to share parenting time and decision making authority for their children. Some parents work with a third-party mediator to facilitate these conversations. If the parents cannot reach a mutual agreement, the case may go to trial where a judge will decide legal decision making (which can be joint or sole) and parenting time (which can be equal or unequal).

Litigated vs Collaborative Divorce with a Child

Collaborative divorce is a more peaceful process than traditional divorce litigation. Litigation involves “fighting to win,” which often means using strategies to portray the other parent in a negative light, even when that parent is perfectly fit to share custody of the child. By trying to gain an advantage in court, parents often damage or destroy all possibilities of maintaining an amicable co-parenting relationship after their divorce. Who wants to sit next to their ex at their child’s soccer game after having gone to court and spending a long, expensive day mud-slinging? Conflict breeds conflict and parents who rely on the court to settle their parenting disputes often find themselves back in court when similar disputes arise in the future.

Collaborative divorce, on the other hand, uses a solution-focused approach to resolving disputes rather than addressing conflicts through the courts. This method can save considerable time and significant money and it gives the participants the opportunity to get the best outcome for everyone involved. Collaborative divorce can help you avoid the stress and unpredictability of divorce litigation and is often more peaceful for both spouses.

Collaborative Divorce Is Easier On Children

Divorce litigation can be emotionally draining for you, your spouse, and your children. But it doesn’t have to be that way with collaborative divorce. The collaborative process can result in a less expensive, more efficient, and less harmful outcome for everyone involved. The legalfinancial, and communication professionals with Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.


The collaborative divorce process is designed to help people who are willing to work together to make an agreement that benefits the family. Resources that help parents communicate effectively during this process can help them model appropriate behavior for their kids. With a lot of love and support, children can more effectively deal with their parents’ divorce. Contact a professional with Best Legal Choices if you’re ready to take the first step toward starting your new life.