The Basics of Child Custody


Generally, custody refers to the legal or practical relationship between a parent and child. There are two types of custody, joint and sole. The parent who has custody of a child has the right to make major decisions in the life of that child.

Joint legal custody

Generally, joint legal custody is defined as two parents sharing the power and responsibility to make major decisions about their child. These could include religion, school, and medical care. But it is not necessarily an equal share of time. In some cases, one parent may be allowed to make the decision on their own.

Joint legal custody is most commonly awarded to parents who are willing to work together. This can be difficult to do, however, due to acrimonious relationships. This type of arrangement is a good idea for both parties because children learn to negotiate and compromise by working through disagreements.

Although joint legal custody may be the simplest of all parenting schemes, there are many factors to consider. A frank discussion about a child’s lifestyle can make the process easier.

Likewise, joint physical custody, which guarantees that each parent has a substantial amount of time with their child, is not a bad thing. But, it is a challenge to obtain in a contested trial. The judge will need to consider evidence of a child’s mental health problems and substance abuse before making a decision.

So, what is the best option? In most cases, the default is joint legal custody, but some states direct the judge to award sole legal custody.

Sole legal custody

Having sole legal custody means that only one parent has full authority over major decisions regarding the child. This can include things like medical care, education, religion, and overall welfare. However, it does not mean that the other parent is not involved in the decision-making process.

The best reason to have sole legal custody is if the parent requesting it is unable to make the decisions themselves. This can happen in situations where the other parent has a substance abuse problem or a mental health issue. In such cases, the other parent will typically receive visitation rights. The court will consider evidence that involving the other parent will harm the child.

Sole legal custody is usually awarded alongside sole physical custody. If the parent has sole physical custody, the child will typically spend at least 128 overnights with that parent in a calendar year.

In some states, the court will award joint physical custody instead. This type of custody can be supervised. During the parent’s custodial time, they will be monitored. It is an option that is often needed in cases of domestic violence.

The other parent will also receive information about the child’s upbringing. This includes major decisions such as educational opportunities, health care, and family rules. It is a good idea for the parents to share in these decisions. In the long run, this will benefit the child.

Parental rights of a non-custodial parent

Whether you are a non-custodial parent or a custodial parent, you have the right to make decisions regarding your children. However, you must work together with your co-parent to make these decisions. It is also important that you maintain a strong relationship with your child.

Parental rights are often terminated if the non-custodial parent is deemed unfit or neglects the child. In order to terminate these rights, you must submit a written request to the court. The court will then schedule a hearing. If the court decides to grant your request, you will be notified of the date and time.

The court will consider the child’s best interests before terminating parental rights. If you are considering terminating your parenting rights, you should contact a family law attorney. He or she can help you make a case in court.

Your rights may also be terminated if you abandon your child. If this happens, the court will appoint a lawyer to represent the child’s interests. During the visitation process, the court may impose restrictions on your visits. If you are unable to visit your child, you can file a motion for enforcement of a child support order.

If your relationship with your child has become strained, you may be able to ask the court to modify the custody agreement. You must have significant reasons for the modification. These reasons can include a job change, a change in schedule, or a move.