Child Custody Rights Explained
Child custody rights are granted by a family court judge to one or two of the parents, grandparents, step-parents, or legal guardians. In custody cases, the courts usually favor the biological parents.
Custody rights are determined based on the best interests of the children. These rights specify who will have physical and legal custody of the child. The payments for child support are also figured out in custody rights cases.
The rights to the custody of a child may be given to only one parent or legal guardian or be shared by both parents. In about 70 percent of cases, primary custody rights are granted to the mother of the child. Fathers are less likely to win custody of their children because of the notion that mothers are better caretakers of children.
About 20 percent of cases award joint custody, in which both parents enjoy an equal amount of custody rights over their children. In this child custody arrangement, parents are allowed by the courts to divide for themselves the custody rights as long as neglect or abuse is not involved.
Custody rights entail both legal and physical responsibilities of the parents. Legal custody rights allow a parent to make major decisions on things that are involved in his or her childrens life such as religion, education, and healthcare. Physical custody rights allow a parent to the child stay with him or her for good.
Barring major disagreements in the wishes of each party, parents can easily determine their rights to custody of their children. However, when both parties cannot reach an agreement, mediation is necessary. Mediation refers to the process that involves intercession of an independent third party to aid parents in making decisions about their custody rights. It can help speed up the process of coming to an agreement of both parties. Once an agreement has been reached and approved by the court, the terms of this agreement can be immediately implemented. If disagreements involving custody rights still ensue, a court hearing will proceed to determine who gets which custody rights.
During the custody hearings, the judge will consider several factors before making a decision about the custody rights of each parent. Usually, courts depend on a psychologists expert testimony, which evaluates options for custody rights by examining a number of important factors. Some of the factors that a judge looks into when deciding custody rights include the age of the child, past behavior of the parents at home, preference of the child on who will take care of him or her, stability of the parents home, the amount of time a parent can devote for taking care of the child, and the parents ability to finance the childs needs. Children may be invited in the court hearings to testify or to speak privately with the judge.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the child custody rights that you may enjoy after your separation from your spouse, your next step is to ask legal help from an experienced lawyer to make sure that you gain the right custody rights over your child.
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