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Child custody cases are part of the legal divorce or separation proceedings that take place when children are involved in a dissolving marriage. Through child custody cases the legal and physical custody of children will be determined. Child support payments will also be determined in child custody cases where applicable. Child custody cases are determined through a number of evaluations about the parties involved to determine the best custody arrangement.
Child custody cases can be handled in a number of ways depending on the specific situation in question but will always progress under the direction of the family court system. Through child custody cases a family law judge may award joint, primary, or sole custody to parents, grandparents, or other responsible guardians. Regardless of the specifics of child custody cases, the family legal system will always award custody in favor of the child's best interests. Beyond this, each state has specific laws about child custody cases.
Statistics about child custody cases indicate that the majority of the time (about 70 percent) primary custody will be awarded to the mother of the children. Less than ten percent of all child custody cases award primary custody to the father. About two in ten child custody cases involve joint custody between the two parents.
There are two general types of custody that are awarded in child custody cases. Legal custody refers to who will make the major decisions that will affect the life of the child. These major decisions can include choices made about education, health and dental care, emergency care, religious practices, extracurricular activities, and the like. Physical custody refers to who the child will live with and spend time with. This will include who the child spends weekdays, weekends, holidays, summers, etc with as well as who will be responsible for supervising daily activities and the like.
Legal decisions in child custody cases are often based on a comprehensive evaluation of custody options in order to determine the best situation for the child. The family legal system will often take in the following factors when evaluating custody suitability: past parenting history, the age of the child, household stability, history of abuse or similar risks, time to dedicate to the child, and the best interests of the child. In some child custody cases, this information will be evaluated by a psychologist who will then make recommendations to the court. Children may also testify in child custody cases. In most states children of any age can testify though discretion is applied in child custody cases when the child is seven or younger.
Parents will always have the option of working out a parenting plan together, which will be approved by the court if deemed fair and appropriate. When the terms of child custody cases are contested it is especially important to seek the services of a qualified attorney who can protect and maximize your legal rights. In all child custody cases the judge will have the authority to make the final decision.
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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.