Child custody laws are important to help children grow up in the best environment possible and have a strong, healthy relationship with both parents. People often have misconceptions about how child custody works. Here are five myths about child custody:

The Kids Can Pick Who to Live With

If the kids are old enough to express a preference, the court can take their wishes into account. However, a child can’t pick what parent to live with until they reach the age of majority. If a child doesn’t attend parenting time, the parent who doesn’t see the child can ask the court to hold the other parent in contempt of court.

Custody Is Easy to Change

Courts think that kids benefit from stability and permanence. That means the courts naturally prefer the status quo. In order to change custody, the court is going to expect a great deal of evidence that the circumstances have changed and that it’s clearly in the children’s best interest to have a major change in their routine.

Custody Always Goes to the Mother

Even though the courts look at which parent has traditionally cared for the children’s day-to-day needs, there’s no gender preference in child custody. The court looks at a variety of factors when it decides how to award child custody. Just like there’s no automatic preference for the mother, there’s also no preference for the child to live primarily with the same gender parent.

If There’s Equal Parenting Time, Neither Parent Pays Child Support

The purpose of child support is to balance the resources for the children among their respective homes. When parents have an income disparity, a parent with equal parenting time may still have to pay support. How much support they have to pay depends on the incomes of the parents.

The Parent with Physical Custody Also Wins Legal Custody

Many parents assume that the parent with physical custody automatically wins sole legal custody. In fact, courts typically award legal custody to both parents even if one parent has substantially more time with the children. Unless there are good reasons that joint legal custody is a bad idea, the courts typically believe that both parents should have a say in making major decisions for the children. Family law firms like Kelm & Reuter, P.A. help their clients understand the difference between physical and legal custody and what type of custody they might expect to receive in their case.

No Two Cases Are Alike

The court has the power to fashion a custody order that’s in the best interests of the children in the case. The court looks at the entire circumstances. It’s important to understand the myths about child custody so that you can prepare your arguments based on the laws. Your attorney can help you understand how to put your best foot forward and build your case.

Author's Bio: 

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.