How is Child Custody Decided?

Child custody is a legal term used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent or guardian and a child in that person’s care. Child custody can be divided into two categories: legal custody and physical custody.

It’s a case that’s emotional for everyone involved. Child custody cases are usually heard in family court. The court looks at many factors to decide which arrangement is in the child’s best interest. Most parents want what’s best for their child, but sometimes they don’t agree on what that is.

What the Court Look For?

When making a custody decision, courts look at what arrangement is in the best interest of the child. Factors a court may consider include:

  • The child’s age
  • The child’s health
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • Each parent’s work schedule
  • The distance between the parents’ homes
  • The child’s wishes (if the child is old enough to express a preference)
  • The parents’ ability to cooperate with each other
  • Each parent’s ability to provide a stable home life
  • Any history of abuse or neglect

Many factors come into play when making this big decision.

Legal Custody

Legal custody refers to the right of a parent or guardian to make decisions on behalf of a child. This includes decisions about education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and other major life choices.

A parent with legal custody has the right to make these decisions without consulting the other parent, although it is generally best if parents can come to an agreement together about these things.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to where a child will live. A parent with physical custody has the right to have the child live with them full-time.

In some cases, parents may share physical custody of a child, which means the child spends equal time living with each parent. This is sometimes called joint physical custody or shared physical custody.

Custody Arrangements

There are many different types of custody arrangements that can be ordered by a court. The type of arrangement that is best for a child depends on the child’s age, the parenting schedules of each parent, and other factors.

Some common custody arrangements include:

Sole Custody: One parent has both physical and legal custody of the child.

Joint Custody: Both parents have either physical and legal custody, or just legal custody of the child.

Split Custody: This is an arrangement where one parent has custody of some of the children, and the other parent has custody of the other children.

Visitation: One parent has physical custody of the child, and the other parent has visitation rights.

Parenting Time: Parenting time is similar to visitation, but is often used to refer to times when both parents have joint physical custody of the child and each parent has the child part of the time.

Get the Right Lawyer for Your Child’s Custody Case

When you are dealing with child custody issues, it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and options, and will fight for the best interests of your child.

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