Child custody refers to the legal right to care for a child. Education, religious upbringing, medical care, housing and other important components of a child's life are the responsibility of the party or parties in custody. In most cases, divorced parents will claim joint custody over their child or children. However, in some situations, the court may award sole custody to either the mother or the father of the child. The court makes decisions regarding custody matters by considering “the best interest of the child.”
Let’s review some of the most important terms that may arise while dealing with child custody matters.
Child custody is a legal area concerned with a parent’s right to control and make decisions about how their child is raised. The default state of child custody is to allow the biological parents of the child to have full custody and control of the child. However, when couples divorce or legally separate, the issues of child custody can become fraught.
Child custody includes the parent’s right to make decisions about the child’s care and upbringing. This includes topics such as where the child lives, how the child is educated, what kind of healthcare a child receives, and any religious practices a child may obey. When custody is contested or shared, the legal system steps in to adjudicate what decisions each parent can make about their child.
There are many reasons that may cause the court to believe that you should lose custody. These reasons can be divided into administrative, behavioral, and safety categories.
Administrative reasons that custody may be taken away include disobeying court orders, subverting custody arrangements, or failing to appear before the court. Behavioral reasons for losing custody may include attempting to alienate the child from the other parent. Finally, you can lose custody if you are shown to act in ways that endanger the child such as misusing drugs or alcohol or acting in abusive ways.
Child support is generally decided on two factors: income and custody status. Even in a perfect 50/50 split of custody, if one parent has less income or no income, the other parent will likely have to pay child support in order to maintain a decent standard of living for the child.
How long a child custody case can take to settle depends on how contentious the agreement can be. Disagreements in the custody schedule, who should receive primary custody, and how much child support should be paid can all drag out the length of time needed to ratify the agreement. Additionally, if the custody agreement needs to be settled by a mediator or adjudicated by the court, the process can stretch on for months or even years.