You may think that you won’t have to make any decisions about child custody until after you are divorced, but family lawyers will advise you that it will need to be settled before a divorce is given by the judge.
While divorces these days are not difficult to get with a ‘no-fault’ law in place, a judge will want to know who and how the children are being looked after before they agree to make your marriage end legally. For instance, they want to know that the person who is going to take the children and care for them is able to do so, both financially, emotionally and physically.
The welfare of the children is of prime important in a family law court, no matter how old they are. While they are still legally minors, they must be cared for by a person deemed suitable by the courts. If the parents are not suitable – for instance if one is in gaol and the other is a drug addict, then grandparents or other family members may be considered, if they are agreeable.
If there is no one to look after them, they will need to go into the foster care system and may be made wards of the state. However, the courts prefer them to stay with family if at all possible.