What You Need To Know About Child Custody

Posted on: 10 March 2021

Many couples go through a divorce without agreeing on how they'll raise their children. One of the issues that arise during a divorce is child custody. In many cases, the courts will award joint custody to ensure the child maintains a healthy relationship with both parents. You should consult a child custody lawyer to ensure you get a fair ruling on child custody and visitation. Here's some basic information on child custody.

Types of Custody Arrangements

Rulings on child custody vary depending on the type of family involved and the circumstances of the case. The main forms of custody arrangements are:

  • Sole custody 
  • Legal custody
  • Joint custody
  • Physical custody

Legal custody means that the parent is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the child. This includes decisions regarding where your child goes to school, their religion, and when they go to the hospital. Physical custody involves living arrangements. It's where the child will live on a regular basis. The court will use its discretion to grant either sole or joint custody. 

How to Obtain Full Custody

Many courts grant joint custody to divorced parents to ensure the child has a meaningful relationship with both parents. However, the court may also order sole custody under specific circumstances. Your child custody attorney can help you get sole custody if you can prove that it's in the child's best interests.

Some factors the court will consider before granting full custody are evidence of child abuse, neglect, and domestic violence. The court will also determine each parent's ability to provide a loving and stable environment for their children. The court may ask each parent to present a child custody evaluation. In some cases, the court will consider the preference of the child.

How to File for Child Custody

To start a custody case, you should file a complaint with the court in the state where the child currently resides. There are other documents that need to be filed. Your child custody lawyer will instruct you on the requirements.

The next step is to serve the other parent with copies of all the documents you have filed. You might be required to go to a parenting education class before you proceed with the case. Mediation may also be required before you can take your case to court. If mediation fails, the case will go to trial. At trial, the court will review the evidence from both parents before deciding the child's best interest.

Contact a child custody lawyer in your area for more information.