Understanding Child Custody and the Law

Understanding Child Custody and the Law

One of the most difficult decisions to make in life is the issue of child custody in the event of divorce. Child custody cases can be both emotionally and financially draining. In order to protect your child from the effects of divorce, you and your ex-partner need to have a good understanding of the applicable child custody laws for both custodial and non-custodial parents.

The following are important child custody law tips that will give you a better understanding as to how the law works:

Legal and physical custody

There are two basic aspects to child custody; legal custody as well as physical custody. Legal custody grants a parent rights and responsibilities to make decisions with regard to the child’s health, education, and welfare. Under this type of custody, a parent has a legal obligation to make the most appropriate decisions for the child. For instance, if you are given the legal custody of a child, then you have to make all the decisions without having having to consult your ex-partner.

However, there is a unique case where both of you can have legal custody of a child. In such circumstances, both parents have the right and responsibility of making decisions on the child’s education, health, and welfare jointly. Joint child custody is rarely granted by courts since parents may not agree on many decisions. But to avoid constant disagreements, both parents in joint custody should communicate with each other and cooperate in decision making.

Physical child custody can either be joint custody, whereby the children live with both parents or sole custody, whereby the children live with one parent and regularly visit the other parent. Physical custody tends to be very contentious since both parents may feel entitled to equal rights to a child’s custody. However, the court has powers to make decisions regarding physical child custody after careful consideration of the child’s interests.

Visitation orders

Visitation gives a guideline on how both parents will share time with the children. The parent who spends lesser than half of the time with the children has visitation. Visitation orders vary depending on the interests of the children, the situation of parents, among other factors. Generally, visitation can be according to schedule, reasonable visitation, supervised visitation, or no visitation at all.

Deciding child custody and visitation

According to the law, the court grants child custody according to the best interest of the child. Some of the factors that the court may consider when giving child custody include:

  1. Age
  2. Health status
  3. Parents’ ability
  4. Emotional ties between the parents and the child.

However, courts do not automatically give custody to a particular parent, no matter the age or sex of the child, the marital status of the other parent, their lifestyle, religious belief, or sexual orientation.

Get yourself a professional child custody attorney to represent you

Regardless of their charges for legal representation, it’s a good idea to hire a proficient child custody lawyer. Get a lawyer who has vast experience in handling child custody cases and who has an excellent record of winning. Without a proficient child custody lawyer, your chances of winning a child custody case are very minimal.

There you have it. Understanding these child custody law tips and all its aspects will help in decision making particular child care and support.