What is the Definition of Child Custody?
The law defines custody as the right to make decisions about a minor child, such as religious upbringing, education, health care, and social activities. When parents separate, these issues can become contested. This is where the child custody laws come in and the court decides who gets custody of the children.
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There are many different types of child custody, but there are two major areas that need to be defined in a court order: residential custody and legal custody. In residential custody, one parent (the custodial parent) lives with the child and takes care of their day-to-day needs. The other parent (the noncustodial parent) usually has visitation time with the child, but often does not have decision-making power over the child.
Physical Custody and Shared Parenting Time.
In most cases, the parent who spends the most time with the child is awarded physical custody of the child. This is sometimes referred to as “sole custody.” In just over half of custody decisions (51%), this is the mother.
Joint custody is a type of shared physical custody in which both parents have the same amount of parenting time with their child. In this type of custody, the child will typically live with each parent for a substantial portion of the time – between 40% and 60% of the time each year.
Continuity is another factor that can influence how child custody is determined. If one parent has moved around a lot over the course of the divorce, this can have an impact on the child’s stability and educational progress. If continuity is in place, the child can continue to live with their existing friends and not have to change schools or participate in new sports teams.
Criminal Record and Abuse are Other Factors.
A parent’s past criminal record, and particularly any abuse committed by a previous spouse or significant other, can be important in determining who will have custody of a child. A person who has a criminal record or abuse is more likely to be denied custody of a child, and may not be granted visitation rights at all.
Age of Child
The age of the child is also an important factor in determining who gets custody of the child. Older children are more likely to be placed with parents who have been around longer and will be more familiar with their child’s habits, likes, and dislikes.
Friendly Parent Rule
The friendly parent rule is a common criterion used by courts in deciding who gets custody of the children. It is based on the idea that it is in the best interests of the children to have access to their parents. If a parent is considered to be friendly, they are more likely to allow the other parent to see their children.
Family History and Relatives
Whether or not a parent has family members who would be able to help raise the child is another factor that can impact who gets custody of the children. The family member in question may be the child’s grandmother, aunt or uncle. This could be a positive factor, as the relative will have an established relationship with the child and can therefore provide a good reference to the court.