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Understanding Child Custody

Understanding Child Custody

Understanding Child Custody


Child custody is the determination made by the court responsible for
the child custody hearing, which establishes which of the two parents will be
considered to be the guardian – or custodial parent – of the child or children
in question.
The procedure undertaken in
order to determine child custody differ on a case by case basis with regard to applicable
jurisdictions, the respective relationship undertaken with regard to each
parent involved, and the analysis of residence.


Child Custody Basics

Although circumstances may exist in which parents will
be able to determine custody without contention – resulting from individual relinquishment
of custodial claims, other circumstances may exist in which judicial review may
be necessary in order to determine a decision with regard to custody. Parents
who are not considered to be the primary custodianof a child will be required
to pay child support to the parent undertaking primary custodial

Temporary Child Custody


Temporary custody is the child custody awarded to a parent
during the process of divorce or separation that grants custody to parent with
full rights of custody to the exclusion of the other parent. The non-custodial
parent can receive limited rights in some cases, as well as supervised
visitation rights.


Joint Child Custody


Joint custody gives equal rights to both parents to make
decisions concerning the upbringing of the child. Courts award joint custody in
cases where both parents can properly perform their duties as parents. If an
applicant parent to sole custody, the parent applicant to rebut a presumption
that joint custody is in the child.


Sole Child Custody


Sole custody of one parent does not preclude the
non-custodial parent from visiting with the child in question with the
exception of abuse or criminal activity. In the event that a sole custodian
agrees to visitation rights for the non-custodial parent in a child custody
case, the courts may still impose restrictions on visits by non-custodial


Third Party Child Custody

The court may grant custody of the
child to a third party when – or if – the third party has claimed
responsibility; grandparents or close familial relatives are often regarded as
third party custodians. If a married couple shares multiple children, the court
has the power to not only separate the children, but also determine which
children – if any – would be better suited with specific parents. However, for
reasons of moral support, children are kept together in most cases.

Custodial Visitation

In certain cases, the custodial
parent will be responsible for determining visitation rights and privileges
with regard to the non-custodial parent; however, the
court has the power to deny or overturn any visitation arrangements. Legal
hearings involving the determination of custody including circumstances
considered to contribute to place a child’s emotional wellbeing at risk are as

Non-custodial parents who have been
physically or have emotionally abused the child in the past

Non-custodial parent suffers from
serious mental illness

Parents who are in prison or have a
criminal record are not automatically denied visitation rights, yet are seldom
considered as custodians.


Custody vs. Guardianship

The custodial parent is the parent
who is considered to be the legal guardian of the child – or children in
question. The classification of legal guardianshipmandates
the expressed right to determine any and all decisions and life choices with
regard to a child or minor – including:

The determination of

The decision with
regard to education undertaken by a child

guidelines; guardianship undertaken by the custodial parent serves as the
primary residence for the child or children