Child Custody – Jurisdiction
When parents who have children divorce, visitation and child custody are the most troubling problems to solve. Typically, in deciding these issues, a court hearing is required. Many times it is necessary to have experienced divorce attorneys to assist you in navigating the court system in order to protect your rights and present your case in a favorable light.
There are two types of custody, physical custody and legal custody. When a parent is given the rights and responsibilities to make decisions for their child it is legal custody. The types of decisions include discipline, education, medical care and religion. Many custody disputes are over physical custody, which determines which parent the child will physically reside.
Typically courts are in favor of awarding physical custody to both parents, which is referred to as joint custody. Primary custody is where one parent has custody of the child the majority of the time. A judge considers many factors in making a decision with regards to child custody. In a custody dispute, the court will make this determination based on the best interest of the child.
While every case is different, the factors to be considered may include things such as the child’s age and physical and mental health, the parents mental and physical health, the parents lifestyle, and ability to offer a stable environment for the child. The court may also consider the emotional bond between the child and both parents as well as the willingness and ability of each parent to maintain a good relationship between the other parent and the child.
Although this may appear simple, the judge will also rely on the testimony of others such as neighbors and family members, a child psychologist, a representative from Child Protective Services, or other witnesses that can testify to the issues being discussed. Depending on the age of the child, his wishes may also be considered. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help the judge to see your evidence as more favorable than the other parent.
If one parent is granted primary physical custody, visitation rights are typically given to the other parent. However, courts prefer attorneys and parents work together to secure a fair visitation schedule, but the court will make the determination if necessary.