Child custody takes several forms and physical custody is arguably the most high-profile because it pertains to the right to live with the child. Courts may grant joint custody so each parent may see the children. If one parent is granted sole physical custody, the other parent is typically granted visitation rights so he or she remains involved in the life of the child. Child custody lawyers provide people with free case evaluations so that they can learn their rights.
Child Custody Decisions
Some parents can reach a physical custody agreement out of court, which means they are mainly responsible for the decisions involved, although, frequently, a mediator, counselor, or custody lawyer may be involved. Child custody arrangements made out of court are the result of collaborative law, mediation, or informal settlement negotiations. In this case, there is no one universal answer as to who will win custody of kids. Only an expert child custody attorney can help make sure that you your rights are protected.
If parents cannot reach an agreement, a family court judge will make the custody decision. Though there is also no universal outcome in this situation, most courts follow specific procedures when making child custody decisions. The court decision is final, preventing a custody battle from ensuing, but can be altered in the future at the request of one or both parents.
Whether the parents or a family court judge renders the custody decision, several factors are considered. The best interests of the child and consideration of who has served as the primary caregiver of the child are key concerns. In some cases, the preferences of the child may be considered. The “best interests of the child” has the goal of encouraging and fostering the security, happiness, emotional development, and metal health of the child into the young adult years. Factors determining the best interests of the child include the physical and mental health of parents, religion, culture, and stability of the home environment.
When a family court judge is tasked with the custody decision, the preference may be for the parent who served as the primary caretaker of the child during a marriage or in general. The emotional bond developed between a child and his or her primary caretaker should be continued, say psychologists. They believe it is considered vital to the psychological stability of the child.
Whether parents determine physical custody of their children or each parent fights for custody and the case goes to court, these and other factors should be considered prior to rendering a decision. Each parent should be aware of his or her custody rights. When necessary, a parent should seek guidance and assistance from an expert custody lawyer.