Obtaining Partial Custody of a Child

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What Are Partial Custody Laws?

Partial custody laws govern specific types of child custody arrangements called “partial custody arrangements.” Partial custody is a custody arrangement where one parent has less custody time with a child than the other parent. This is different from sole custody arrangements where only one parent has custody or from shared custody arrangements where the parents split time equally.

According to partial custody laws, one parent is usually granted a majority of the time with the child, while the other is granted either limited custody or visitation rights. The parent with more custody responsibilities is often termed the "custodial parent,” and the other parent is usually called the "non-custodial parent." Partial custody is frequently granted where the non-custodial parent is unable to care for or assume major responsibilities for the child.

What Are Some Steps for Obtaining Partial Custody of a Child?

Partial custody usually begins with situations where one parent has full custody. In such cases the non-custodial parent may request or file for partial custody of the child. Here, the court will have to reconsider the arrangement to determine whether the new arrangement will be in the child’s best interest.

Some steps for obtaining partial custody include:

As mentioned, the non-custodial parent may need to overcome some hurdles, since the other parent may already have full custody of the child.

What If There Is Already a Child Custody Order in Place?

When seeking partial custody of a child, it is generally necessary to file for a modification of a child custody order. This may require additional documentation to prove that the person is ready to assume additional responsibilities. Custody modifications can also affect other aspects of the arrangement, including child support, spousal support, and wage garnishment (if applicable). Be sure to follow up on these subjects if it seems that they may be an issue.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help Obtaining Partial Custody?

Obtaining partial custody is not automatic and involves many different steps. You may need to hire a family lawyer in your area if you need assistance with any custody requests. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and representation in order to help you obtain a different custody arrangement. You can also consult with your attorney if you have any specific concerns or requests.

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Last Modified: 07-22-2014 11:21 PM PDT

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