As family lawyers, we know that family structures are often fluid over time. When a family undergoes a significant change such as divorce, it is important to get all your legal ducks in a row. Part of that process is formally addressing the custody of any children in the family.
If you and your spouse are the biological or adoptive parents of a child, the judge will sign a custody order, or parenting plan, addressing these issues as part of your divorce. However, if you and your spouse have been raising a child who is not legally yours through biology or adoption, you will need to be more proactive about planning for their future.
Guardianship orders and divorces are handled by separate courts, which means that you will need to file separately if you need to change the terms of a child’s guardianship. Depending upon your family’s history and yours and your spouse’s relationships with the child, you may decide either to terminate one spouse’s guardianship status with respect to the child, or to co-parent the child. If you decide to coparent, the court will need to determine a specific schedule for the child to follow. In deciding any child’s future, the court will look first and foremost at the best interest of the child. The judge will want to preserve stability for the child, and may also take into account other factors such as your ability to educate the child, to provide for their needs, and when appropriate, to maintain civility and connection with the child’s birth family.
If you currently have guardianship of a child and are going through a divorce, don’t try to go it alone. The attorneys at Held Law Firm have experience dealing with both types of litigation and will be able to seamlessly guide you through this complicated process. To schedule a consultation or for more information, call 865-637-6550.