Parents facing a child custody case may worry about what they have heard online or from other parents. Here are four pervasive myths about child custody debunked.
Myth #1: A parent’s consensual sexual history can impact custody agreements
A parent’s consensual, private sexual history cannot impact child custody cases. In other words, arguing that your estranged partner slept with a lot of people has no bearing on the court’s decision. However, sexual activity that’s illegal or puts a child in harm’s way may impact a case.
Myth #2: The mother has an advantage
Another myth is that mothers have a leg up. Decades ago, judges may have implicitly given preference to mothers in child custody cases, but times have changed; these days, both parents are weighed equally on their merits. Mothers may end up as custodial parents slightly more often because that’s what the couple decides. But increasingly, joint custody is the norm.
Myth #3: Custodial parents can relocate children at their will
Unless a parent has full legal custody of a child and the other parent has relinquished all rights, they cannot pick up and move to another state or country at will. Typically, child custody agreements include notification and approval relocation stipulations that must be followed.
Myth #4: Children get to choose which parent they want to live with
While a child’s preference is certainly weighed when determining custody agreements, the child cannot dictate a choice. Instead, courts do what they think is in the minor’s best interests.
Child custody agreements vary case by case. It’s important to be knowledgeable about the laws that may affect your case.