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Child Custody Lawyers

There are two basic forms of child custody – residential custody and legal custody. Residential custody refers to the parent with whom the child will live. Legal custody refers to the person who will make the child’s decisions, such as health, education, and general welfare.

Joint legal custody is the most common form of custody. With joint legal custody, the child lives with one parent while the other parent is granted visitation rights. Joint legal custody enables both parents to make decisions on behalf of the child, regardless with whom the child lives.

Under joint physical custody, also known as shared parenting, the child lives with both parents for periods of time. The child’s time is not necessarily divided equally between the two parents. Joint physical custody is progressively declining because most courts feel that this arrangement is not in the best interest of the child.

Sole legal custody is usually decided where there is abuse, or drug or alcohol use by one of the parents. Sole legal custody is granted to one parent, who then has the right to make all of the legal decisions for the child.

Most states no longer assume that a woman or a man, based solely on gender, is better fit to raise the child. The law prohibits gender form being used when making a custody decision.

Instead, the court focuses on the child’s best interest. There is no definite formula in deciding the child’s best interest, but courts usually address the same factors:

  1. The child’s wishes
  2. The child’s emotional and physical needs
  3. The potential danger of one parent to the child’s emotional and physical well-being
  4. Each individual’s “parental abilities”
  5. Programs available to assist the parents and child
  6. Each individual’s plans if granted custody of the child
  7. The stability of the individuals’ homes
  8. Past acts or omissions by the individuals which may indicate the stability of the parent-child relationship
  9. The excuses for these acts or omissions

Drug and alcohol use is also looked at when determining the child’s best interests.

If you are fighting for custody of your child and would like to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer, click on the link to your state to contact an experienced divorce attorney from in your area. We work with experienced divorce attorneys across the nation who handle both contested and uncontested divorces, as well as alimony, custody issues, child support, and more.

Click on a link to find a Divorce Lawyer in that state.
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The Child Custody Information contained on this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law and introduce you to divorce attorneys within the U.S. The information regarding child custody law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. To speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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