Kathleen J. Smith, Attorney at Law

How should you approach child custody in an uncontested divorce?

California readers know there are many reasons why a couple would choose an uncontested divorce. This option can be easier in many aspects, yet it will not work in every case. When there are specific complicating factors that could affect your final order, uncontested divorce may not be the right option for you.

Uncontested divorce is an option for a couple with no remaining disputes between them. This means both sides agree on everything from division of marital property to a visitation schedule before filing. If there are significant disputes regarding child custody, uncontested divorce may not be the right option for you.

A child custody order that works

Child custody is often one of the most contested and emotionally charged issues of a divorce. Some parents are not able to reach a reasonable conclusion on the matter without the intervention of the court, but that may not be the case for you. If you are moving forward with an uncontested divorce, you will have to be in agreement on all matters pertaining to child custody.

It is important to be as thorough and complete as possible when drafting a custody plan for an uncontested divorce. You and the other parent must carefully and thoughtfully address all issues that may affect your children and custody matters, including:

  • Visitation schedules, including access to extended family members
  • Legal custody, which is the legal right to make decisions for the child
  • Holidays, summer vacation and travel procedures
  • Special issues that may be unique to your children or family

Parents should not compromise a strong custody plan and the protection of their parental rights simply to benefit from the ease of an uncontested divorce. However, if you and your spouse are in agreement on major issues and have no need for litigation, uncontested divorce could be the right choice for you.

Protecting your future after divorce

Regardless of the specific type of divorce you want, it is beneficial to take steps to protect your interests and your post-divorce security. If you are considering an uncontested divorce, you would be wise to carefully weight all of your options before moving forward.

You have the right to know your choices and your rights. If you and your spouse agree on complex matters such as custody and visitation, you may be able to choose an uncontested divorce and move forward more quickly to your post-divorce future.

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