What Guides Decisions In Court Cases On Child Custody

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Cases that revolve around child custody can be extremely hard to resolve. But the people who approach the courts with such cases expect arbitration: so the cases have to be resolved, regardless of their great complexity. More often than not, it is single judges who come up with the final decisions on such cases. However, sometimes we also encounter child custody cases that are so complicated that a single judge would not suffice. Therefore, we would end up with three to five judges taking the bench for that particular case. There are times when a judgment or a decision made by a judge is appealed on in the higher courts. In these instances, multiple-judge appellate benches are often called for.

Decisions on child custody cases take most of their cue from the constitution and prevailing statutes related to the subject. You come to learn that there are many constitutional and statutory guidelines on how these cases should be decided. These guidelines are going to have to be watched closely by the courts that have the original jurisdiction on the pertinent cases. They must always expect that any failure on their part to adhere to these guidelines will open risks to an appeal. Judges are going to be opening themselves to public ridicule and even risk losing their credibility (and their job!) if it has been later on revealed during an appeal that they didn't follow the guidelines. Their credibility will be put into question. Soon, the public would not even believe that they have the right and the authority to be wearing the robes of a judge or be sitting behind the bench. As much as possible, judges would want to steer clear of that. It is no wonder, then, that they take extra care and try to brush up on their knowledge on the constitutional and statutory guidelines relevant to child custody cases. But things get a bit sticky when the judges make decisions guided by these constitutional and statutory considerations and yet the decisions seem to baffle the laymen or ordinary folks who are unaware about these guidelines.

In making judicial decisions in court cases that revolve around child custody issues, reference is made to the existing body of jurisprudence. It is not unusual for family court judges to look at older or prior court cases revolving around child custody issues and try to look at what decision has been made. These prior judgments have become firmly established as precedents, which are considered by all judges to be a valid basis for their own decisions when they find themselves faced with similar cases. In other words, let us say that a decision has been made on a child custody case by the Federal Supreme Court. That decision will become binding to all family and state courts faced with cases of similar nature. Of course that does not mean it is a hard-and-fast rule. Judges could rule differently, especially if the case is significantly different from the case that the Supreme Court decided on.

Pay attention to all the details and the facts of the child custody case, no matter how small, since they would aid greatly in coming up with a final decision. Mothers are supposedly the parents who are granted custody of children who are under the age of 10. However, in the event that the mother is incapacitated (e.g. an alcoholic, a drug user, or mentally ill), the court would have to award custody of the kids to the father. Notwithstanding the constitutional and statutory guidelines, and notwithstanding the legal precedents, each custody case ultimately has to be decided 'on its own merits.'

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