Divorces are never easy, but the resulting child custody arrangements can sometimes be even more difficult to navigate, as the livelihood of dependent offspring is considered. Typically, each parent has strong feelings about what is best for a child, and when these opinions do not mesh, a custody battle could ensue, according to ABC News.

When disagreements over custody occur, parents can still avoid getting involved in the court system. Informal settlement negotiations can take place when both spouses hire a lawyer to negotiate outside of court. Arbitration and mediation are also possibilities, but attorneys are also helpful during these resolution proceedings.

If an arrangement can’t be decided upon, the courts must get involved. Child custody laws differ by state, so it is important for parents to educate themselves before landing before a judge, the news source suggests.

In family court, judges will attempt to decide upon an order that is in a child’s best interest. The news provider reports that factors considered in this decision are the mental and physical health of the parents, religious considerations, schooling and the age and sex of the child.

The Fathers at Work Initiative advises that if there is any doubt, fathers may want to establish paternity to protect visitation and custody rights.

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