Child custody is one of the most misunderstood parts of divorce and family law. Custody is not only about who the minor children reside with but also about the rights and responsibilities of each parent.
In most cases, the court will award joint custody to the parents. This means that both parents retain their rights and responsibilities, even if the child or children are to reside primarily with one parent. They will both be required to financially, physically and emotionally care for the children and retain the right to access in the form of reasonable custody and/or visitation or contact.
In these cases, a parenting plan may include the children residing with both parents at different times of the week, month or year. Joint custody is by far the preferable arrangement but can still become complicated in relation to defining the parameters of residence, schooling, visitation as well as child support.
Sole custody will only be granted under certain circumstances. Evidence will need to be provided by the parent seeking custody that the other parent was neglectful or endangered the children in some way. Abuse, addiction to a substance or a failure to perform full parental duties and responsibilities can be grounds for requesting sole custody.
If sole custody is awarded, the children will reside with the custodial parent. That parent will be responsible for the day-to-day care of the children and providing for their needs. The non-custodial parent will be responsible for providing financial support to the custodial parent to cover the costs of their care. The non-custodial parent will be granted visitation and contact rights that are considered to be reasonable by the custodial parent and the court.
A custodial parent may not remove the children from their city, state or country without the permission of the non-custodial parent on a permanent, semi-permanent or short term basis that would in any way impose on their right to access to the children. Unless a parent has sole guardianship of the children, both parents will have a say in decisions regarding the children. However, in the event of a dispute, the court will favor the custodial parent in so far as the rights of the other parent are not being infringed upon.
Child custody can become a very complicated issue and can prevent the divorce process from being finalized. Robert Cossey & Associates can ensure that your parental rights and responsibilities are being protected when custody becomes an issue in divorce.
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