Divorce creates a sticky situation, especially when children are involved. If you and your spouse split, then you’re potentially subject to sharing custody based on the child custody law set by the courts. This is a factor, even if you and the child’s other parent aren’t married.
If you are in a situation where you are going through custody, it’s in your best interest to understand custody laws. Read on to learn more about family law and your parenting options.
What Is Child Custody?
The responsibility and obligation to care for a young child on a day-to-day basis and make critical decisions regarding the child is known as child custody. Custody also means caring for the child and having the ability to take care of them and make decisions on their behalf.
The most significant aspect considered by the courts is what’s in the child’s best interest. The main determinants differ by the facts in each case, but what is in the best interest of the children is often considered by the courts according to custody law.
For the most part, the court will consider elements relating to the welfare of the child and the capacity of each parent to satisfy those needs. They will grant custody per those considerations. Regardless of which parent has primary custody, when the child has regular consistent interaction with both parents, it’s better for them.
Who Gets Child Custody?
An agreement on the terms of custody and visits should be reached between the parents, if possible, and it should be set out in the arrangement. The more precise the terms of your contract, the better and quicker it would be to execute.
If you do not negotiate with the other parent, it would be up to the courts to determine the matters of child care and visitation, typically at the time of the divorce hearing.
Research the Child Custody Law In Your State
Laws concerning child custody differ from state to state. Depending on where you live, there are variables to think about before going through a court case.
Some states take several things into consideration, from the child’s desires to the parent’s co-operation. Others take very little into consideration. For instance, joint custody regarding cases of domestic abuse take high priority in the courts.
Before the case starts, make sure you do your homework so that you are aware of which aspects may be weighed. Also, consider what issues may come out during the trial. The child custody law takes into account the age, interests, growth of the child, and whether there is any indication of wrongdoing. It is more likely that older kids will have their preferences taken into account as well.
If you’re interested in learning more about this process, click on the highlighted link to learn the reasons a judge will change custody.
The Various Types of Custody
There are different types of custody. Here are the basics:
Legal custody applies to the right of a parent to make significant choices regarding the welfare, health, and education of a child, including:
- Where a kid goes to school,
- If a child would partake in religious practices, and
- If medical attention should be given to a child (in exception to emergency situations)
Joint vs. Sole Physical Custody
Legal custody, whether joint or single can be shared. Joint legal custody ensures that the right and duty to make decisions regarding the health, schooling, and care of a child is held by both parents. Sole legal custody means that, without the other parent’s input, only one parent has the power to make certain decisions.
The idea that a parent has joint legal custody doesn’t mean the parent can still have joint physical custody. They are two different things.
Physical custody relates to where, after a divorce or breakup, a child lives. The parent with actual possession is entitled to have the child in the home physically. When a child resides with one parent solely or predominantly, the parent is generally referred to as the parent in custody. The other is the parent in non-custody and normally has visitation rights.
Joint vs. Physical Custody Single
Joint physical custody ensures that there are important physical custody times for both parents. When the time of a child is split between the parents, that’s joint physical custody.
Sole physical custody indicates that a child stays with one parent, subject to the child custody law enforced to grant visitation hours with the other parent.
Parents have the right to custody and/or visits with their children, even when they split or divorce, whether they are ever married or not. It is believed the married parents are the biological and/or legal parents of children born after their union. Unless a judge suspends parental rights, biological and/or legal parents are legally eligible to request custody and/or visitation of their offspring.
Child Custody for Unmarried Couples
For unmarried couples, the court may award custody to one or both parents as long as there is no doubt of parental status. If one parent challenges the parentage of the other, then the court will have to interfere to resolve this matter.
In certain states, the child custody law does not presume parentage if parents are not married at the time of the birth of a child. This is true when the woman gives birth, but she has to prove the parentage of the other parent. Based on the family’s conditions and state laws, unmarried parents can be assumed, biological, suspected, reputed, or putative.
It can be difficult to determine parentage, and since the rules differ from state to state, if the other parent of the child challenges your parentage and right to custody, you can contact a qualified family law lawyer in your region for help.
Child Custody Law Simplified
Hopefully, the information above helps you to understand more about child custody law. There are many things that determine which parent becomes the sole provider, and an experienced attorney can help you with the process.
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