Boise Divorce Attorneys will tell you that most judges prefer that a divorcing couple come to an agreement as to what their custody arrangement will be, rather than making the decision for them. Judges know that each couple knows their family dynamics best. They know how their family works. No two families are alike so there cannot simply be one parenting plan and one custody arrangement. Custody isn't a one size fits all proposition.
How are Parenting Plans and Custody Agreements Decided Upon?
After filing for divorce, serving the complaint upon the other party and after the defendant's response is filed, one of the first things that divorce attorneys do is see what issues can be worked out. If the parties already have in mind a custody arrangement that will work for them or is working for them, they can reduce that agreement to writing, establish temporary orders along those lines and eventually have the agreement signed and incorporated into the final divorce decree by the judge.
Unfortunately, in the real world it is not always that easy. Often the emotions of divorce get in the way and the process is clouded by hurt feelings or feelings of mistrust or anger. If the parties cannot agree as to how custody will be split or how they will parent during the interim, the judge in a divorce case will send them to mediation. The aim of mediation is to help the parties work out a parenting arrangement that will work best for them. The court has approved mediators from whom it will accept mediation agreements. The parties will be asked to use their best effort to work out an agreement that will work for them.
What Happens When You Can't Agree?
If you make a good faith effort in mediation but cannot come to an agreement, the judge will make the decision for you. The judge will look at the situation and use a set of statutory criteria to decide what is in the best interest of the child. Once this is done, this will be your custody arrangement, whether you like it or not. That is why it is critical to use your best effort to come up with an mutually acceptable agreement with the other parent.