Child Custody Laws
The Children Come First in Child Custody Laws
The basic assumption of child custody laws is that the interests of the child should take priority over the interests of either parent. It also assumes that the child’s interests will be best protected when the child has a good relationship with both parents, even if the parents are separated.
“Child custody” is the right to make major decisions concerning the child. Such decisions include non-emergency medical care, religion, and consent to join the military, among many others. Essentially, any decision that a parent has the power to make for a child rests with the parent or parents who have custody.
In a divorce proceeding, divorce courts have wide discretion in deciding who gets custody of a child. There are many factors which they usually consider. These factors include:
- The wishes of the child’s parents: if both parents agree to a custody scheme, courts will usually follow that decision;
- The wishes of the child: if the parents cannot agree, the wishes of the child will be given strong weight;
- Which parent has been a primary caretaker during the marriage;
- The mental and physical health of all persons involved;
- The child’s adjustment to their current home, school, and community.
Courts can consider almost any factor which is relevant to a parent’s fitness to raise a child, and this list simply includes some of the most common considerations. Note that courts are free to consider other factors when relevant. If you feel that your situation warrants examination by the courts and cannot be resolved through family mediation, we suggesting that you consider posting your case on LegalMatch for review by child custody lawyers in your local area.
Child Custody Articles
- Establishing Child Custody and Visitation
- Child Custody Between Unmarried Parents
- Different Types of Custody Arrangements
- Child Custody Violations
- Modification of Child Custody and Visitation Arrangements
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Last Modified: 01-14-2014 12:24 PM PST
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