One of the most challenging aspects of any break up is how it will impact your children. Both parents undoubtedly love their children and want what’s best for them, but it can be difficult to reach an agreement over how to parent them separately and how to share time with the kids.

Fortunately for you and your ex, you don’t have to figure this out all on your own. A seasoned family law attorney can work with your family to help you arrive at a solution that’s best for everyone — especially your children.

Types of Child Custody

Before entering into the negotiation stage of your child custody arrangements, it may help to first understand how family law courts define the legal aspects of separate parenting. For instance, the state of Kansas recognizes two types of child custody:

  • Physical custody, which refers to time actually spent with your child or children
  • Legal custody, meaning the ability to make decisions about your child’s upbringing (including factors like education, religion, discipline, and medical decisions)

Obviously, both physical and legal custody considerations are crucial components of parenting. Not only do you want to spend time with your child, but you also want to have a legally recognized voice when it comes to matters that impact their upbringing as a whole. A well-drafted child custody agreement can help to ensure that neither aspect of your parenting role is overlooked.

Kansas Courts Favor Joint Custody

Kansas law recognizes both joint and sole legal custody but prefers joint legal custody — where both parents are making decisions together about the well-being of their children. The reason for this favoritism is simple: countless studies have revealed that, in most cases, children ultimately benefit from having near-equal parenting privileges between their two parents.

In joint custody arrangements, physical custody is typically shared, often with one parent having primary custody. If, on the other hand, both parents have an equal amount of time with the child, this is known as “shared residency.”

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How Family Law Courts Award Custody

In making child custody determinations, a court has broad discretion. The ultimate goal in any custody order is the best interests of the child, so each case is reviewed and decided on based on its own unique set of facts. In Kansas, neither the mother nor the father receives special preference, regardless of the age of the child. The most important factor is the best interests of the child or children.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces

In many cases, divorcing parents are able to agree on a custody and visitation schedule that works for them and their children. This is known in the legal world as an uncontested divorce. In uncontested divorce scenarios, the parents (and their attorneys) work together to find an arrangement that makes sense for their situation and later present it to the court for its approval.

Alternatively, if you and your ex cannot reach an agreement amongst yourselves, you are involved in what is known as a contested divorce — meaning the court will need to make your custody decisions for you.

As you can imagine, contested divorces are generally higher-stress and less ideal for everyone involved, which is precisely why attorney Mark Jeffers will try to help you and your ex-spouse arrive at an agreement without the need for much litigation (court-heavy negotiation). That being said, he is more than prepared to stand up for you and your children in court if it comes down to it.

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Child Custody Attorney in Overland Park, Kansas

Child custody cases require an attorney who is both knowledgeable and compassionate. Litigation often isn’t the best choice for parents who are deciding how to share custody and move forward in a co-parenting relationship. Attorney Mark Jeffers understands the unique aspects of child custody cases, particularly how they can affect children. His calm demeanor and commitment to finding solutions to thorny issues makes him an ideal choice for parents who want to reach an agreement and protect their children from the difficulties of a drawn-out litigation process. He is also experienced in all phases of child custody litigation and will go to court if necessary to protect a parent’s rights to his or her children. Contact Jeffers Law Office today at 914-385-LAWS (5297) for a free initial consultation with Mark Jeffers.