How Does Child Custody Work? 

When it comes to child custody, the courts will look at the child’s best interests to make a decision. Typically, mothers receive primary custody and fathers get visitation rights. However, despite some prejudices, the number of fathers with custody rights is growing. This has resulted in better equality and less discrimination against fathers in the United States. The courts will also consider the child’s birth and adoption status. These factors will play a large role in determining the custody arrangement. 

Physical custody 

Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child lives. This parent is the one who supervises and cares for the child’s day-to-day needs. Often, both parents share legal custody, but the child lives with one parent in a majority of cases. Joint physical custody can be divided between both parents, or one parent may have more time with the child. 

Primary physical custody is awarded to the parent who spends most of the time with the children. This parent also has regular parenting time and typically receives child support from the other parent. Depending on the circumstances, primary physical custody may result in a higher child support order. 


In many cases, the court will set limits on how much time each parent can spend with the child. These limitations can include time spent with another adult, supervised visitation, or drug testing. This kind of visitation is not permanent. If conditions change for the better, a parent may petition the court to be allowed visitation. Here are some guidelines to follow during your visitation: You should have your child ready to go to the other parent at a mutually agreed time and place. 

Courts use the “best interests of the child” standard to decide who gets to see the child. Specifically, they look for ways to avoid disrupting the child’s education and social support system. A child’s expressed wishes are not determinative. 

Judge’s decision 

A judge’s decision on child custody is often based on what is in the child’s “best interest.” This means focusing on the needs of the child and giving custody to the parent who can best meet those needs. This can include ensuring the child is well fed, clothed, and supervised. The judge also wants to make sure the child is safe. A parent must be careful to protect the child from abuse, domestic violence, and drugs. 

If a parent has been involved in domestic violence, this can also influence the judge’s decision. Whether the parent is abusive or neglectful is also considered. For instance, if the child was the victim of domestic violence, the judge may order that the child be removed from the household. This will generally involve a protective order. 

Children’s preferences 

If your child is young, he or she may prefer to live with one parent over the other. Their preference may be a reflection of how the other parent treats them. Perhaps the other parent is less strict with discipline and treats the child with more indulgence. This may not be a good thing for the child. 

In a child custody case, a judge will look at the child’s reasons for preferring one parent over the other. These reasons will be weighed by the judge based on their relevance to the child’s wellbeing. For example, a twelve-year-old who has concrete reasons for preferring a parent over the other might have a significant influence on the court’s decision. 


The Court’s decision on the question of attribution of child custody should be based on the child’s best interests. The court must also consider the child’s health and safety. A natural father may not be the best choice to be a custodian of his children if he does not share parental responsibility for the child’s upbringing. 

In one famous case, the court cited the Convention and the best interests of the child in a divorce case. While it didn’t play a particularly unique role, it was important to note that the Convention was a foundation for the decision.