During dissolution, the highest emotional impact of the spouses often surrounds child custody. The Best Interest of The Child, is the standard that the court will use to determine where the child will be placed. The court uses this standard to decide who the primary care giver will be. Often times Custody is shared equally.
If the court must get involved, often the parties are sent to family court mediation to work out a parenting plan. Mediation is when both parties attend a conference with a neutral party in order to discuss proposals for custody and support arrangements The court typically looks at the status quo to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Both parties are encouraged to create a set schedule of shared-parenting. An example is having weekends with the child, rotating holidays, or weekly visits. After mediation, an attorney can formalize any agreements and litigate any unresolved issues.
Sometimes psychological evaluations of the children or parties are recommended. The primary goal is to find out if either parent suffers from a dysfunction which impairs their ability to care for the children. During the evaluation, the parties are subjected to a series of psychological tests and observations. A psychologist may also view the history of the family parenting plan, while giving most weight to the most recent plan. Generally a psychologist supports the most recent parenting plan for the child, except if there is a valid reason for dramatic change.