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Child custody can be one of the most sensitive and emotional issues in the divorce process. Child custody is essentially a number of rights and responsibilities that manage a parent's caretaking relationship with their child. In divorce cases where there is no evidence of domestic or child abuse, neglect, or other complications, affable spouses may decide who has primary responsibility over the child with the final approval of a judge.
However, in the event of a divorce dispute, it is up to a family law judge to determine child custody. Child custody laws vary from state to state, but a child's best interests will always be the primary factor in a judge's decision about child custody .
Child custody typically involves physical custody issues and legal custody issues. Physical child custody refers to the physical right a parent has to be with the child and usually determines who will be the primary caretaker of the child. Legal child custody involves one or both parents' authority to determine matters relating to their child's welfare including healthcare, education, religion, activities, and other issues.
A judge will grant child custody by considering the laws of your state, the parents or guardians, and the best interests of your child. Child custody may be awarded to one or both biological parents, grandparents, stepparents, or other possible legal guardians of the child.
Many state laws reflect the notion that frequent contact with both parents following a divorce is in the best interests of the child (when abuse and other complications are not involved). A family court may favor granting parents joint custody , or the shared responsibility for the care, custody, and control of a child. In joint custody, both you and your spouse must discuss and decide on matters relating to your child's life.
If the court finds one parent unfit to act as the primary caretaker of the child, a judge may find it in the child's best interest to grant sole custody to one parent. Sole custody would give the primary custodian the sole right and responsibility to make all major decisions pertaining to a child without having to discuss anything with the other parent. Sole custody may apply to physical and/or legal issues.
In many cases, the family law court will grant one parent the primary custodial parent and the other will be granted child visitation rights.
A judge will often consider the age of the child, the child's preference, financial matters, relationship between the child and parents, household stability, physical and mental wellbeing of the child and parents, evidence of abuse or neglect, and more when determining child custody.
If you have children and are going through divorce, is essential to seek the help of an experienced divorce attorney who can help protect your legal rights and maximize your interests. Please contact us today to speak to a qualified family law attorney free of charge.
More information on custody:
Child custody rights may be shared by both parents or, primary child custody rights may be awarded to one parent or legal guardian. Since the 1970s the family court will award child custody rights contingent with the best interests of the child.
Child custody for fathers following a divorce is one of the most important aspects of a dissolving marriage. Throughout history the legal presumptions about child custody for fathers has changed significantly. Before the twentieth century children were regarded as the property of their father. Under common law, child custody for fathers was commonly awarded, as children were considered a father's rightful property. A major shift occurred after this period in history, as family courts came to favor mothers in child custody cases. It was presumed that under normal circumstances, children did better when placed in the sole custody of their mothers.