Child custody isn’t as straightforward as the media makes it appear, and custody disputes do not simply result in awarding the mother custody of their child. In circumstances where the parents are divorced, unmarried, or live far from one another, the issue gets complicated. This is the reason why parents who are considering divorce choose to hire a child custody attorney who can help them and fight to retain custody of their child.
Most state laws define custody as one or both parents bearing responsibility for the welfare of their child. Custody is what people commonly think of when they talk about custody. This describes where a child lives on a daily basis, which is given to one parent or both. Legal custody is a related matter and refers to the right to make significant decisions about a child, for example, education and healthcare.
Every state has its laws regarding family matters, including child custody. Contrary to popular belief, relatives don’t favor one parent over another because of the basis of sex, and the court does not push against one kind of custody over another. There are several types of visitation and custody privileges available in most child custody situations, which can be described as follows:
Joint Physical Custody
In cases where a judge gives joint legal custody, the child is essentially split between the two parents. The child may live with each parent for a period, which allows the child to spend equal time with both parents. Joint legal custody isn’t to be confused with situations where one parent has custody but grants visitation rights. This kind of child custody is best suited for parents who can work past their differences and make decisions together for the best interests of the child.
Joint Legal Custody
Neither parent is given preference by the judges when it comes to making decisions for the best interests of the child. Nevertheless, in certain scenarios, the court may give one parent the capacity to make certain decisions for the child, based on several factors. This type of custody isn’t to be confused with joint physical custody, in which the child is given equal time with each parent. Instead, joint legal custody is based out of a desire of the parents to make shared decisions regarding the child. “Joint Custody” is another term that can refer to either joint legal custody or joint physical custody as well as the term it is often used interchangeably.
A court may make one of the parents responsible for the child’s major life choices, which may include education, healthcare, religion, and general wellbeing. This doesn’t mean that both parents are barred from making the decisions collectively; however, sole custody is usually granted by the judge in circumstances where it would cause too much conflict to do so, like situations where domestic violence has occurred. Under the legislation, the child’s custodial parent (the one with sole custody) may make decisions on their own, even though it goes against the other parent’s wishes.
Visitation typically refers to the non-custodial parent’s ability to have “parenting time.” Even though the child may live with the custodial parent, they can interact with the other parent in a set period previously defined by the court. This largely depends upon the unique facts behind the situation of each family. When a judge decides this period, they will consider the parents’ work schedules, the safety of the child, prior childcare history, school locations, in addition to the taste of the parent/child in deciding visitation schedules. However, even if the child is allowed visitation time with one parent, this does not imply that the parent retains some level of custody.
When deciding visitation, there are many situations where the protection of the child or custodial parent is of concern to the judge. This is common is domestic violence cases, where the child shouldn’t be left alone with the abuser. For the judge to grant supervised visitation, the custodial parent must prove why it is necessary. The facts behind each situation will also decide how frequent the visits will be and how long.
Parents are not required to pursue custody or visitation of their child in court. For many parents, involving the court system may add a burden or additional stress. If the parents are on amicable terms, they may reach a casual decision about the custody or visitation of their child. However, if there is a potential for future conflict about custody or visitation arrangements, the parents may still turn to the courts to resolve the matter.
There’s not any perfect solution to addressing the problem of child custody when dealing with divorce or separation. Like the rationale behind the court’s decisions regarding child custody, parents tackling this issue should place priority concern within the option that would enable the child to live a healthy lifestyle. This may mean having one parent retain custody or having joint custody of their child. Whatever you decide, remember that your child will experience a large share of the effect.
A graduate of the University of Florida for his B.A. And Law degree, Chris is an avid Florida Gator fan, as well as Pearl Jam, Nascar and Golf.
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