When you are getting a divorce and you have children, one of the biggest problems can be figuring out child support, custody, and visitation. It can turn quite contentious if you aren't careful or if you and your former spouse have a difficult time getting along. In addition to working with a divorce lawyer, there are ways that you can help get everything figured out so that your child's best interest is kept to the forefront.
One thing you can do is to go through arbitration. Arbitration is generally not legally binding, but you can make sure that the results are written into your divorce decree, which will make them legally binding. With arbitration, you go to a person who is trained in negotiation. You and your former spouse each go in and lay out your story and your list of what you are looking for. The arbitrator may ask for more information than what you are giving them, which they can use for the final decision. Together, you, your former spouse, your attorneys, and your arbitrator will go through each list of requests to see what can be done about them. The arbitrator will help you come up with a compromise that will work for you and your child. You may not get everything you want since compromise breaks down into an agreement where neither party gets everything they want but they can be happy with what they got, but you should be able to get things that will be good for your child.
If you and your former spouse can't come to any kind of agreement no matter what, you may have to turn it over to the court and let them handle it. At that point, the judge may appoint a lawyer or guardian ad litem for your child. The guardian ad litem doesn't take custody, they are just for legal purposes and are there to make sure that your child's best interests are represented. The court will look at a variety of things, like who has been the primary caretaker, who has an income, and other things, and then make the decision. The court will make sure that any decisions are written into legally binding documents so you and your former spouse have to abide by them.
Divorce can be hard enough without children, but once children are involved, it can get even worse. Trying to figure out custody, support, and visitation can be difficult in even the most convivial divorces.