By Chris Kramer
If there are children involved in your divorce, the divorce courts will make child custody arrangements. Most states grant parents equal custody rights if it's in the best interest of the child.
With equal child custody rights, both parents have joint child custody, which may include both legal and physical custody. It's also possible for one parent to have sole physical child custody, while the noncustodial parent shares legal custody and gets generous child visitation rights.
In many states, the courts must consider the child's wishes - if he or she is old enough to comprehend making a decision. The parents' wishes and the relationships between the child and parents, siblings and other people that are involved in the family unit may also be considered. Each state has specific child custody guidelines that help determine custody.
Depending on the circumstances and state guidelines, the divorce courts will decide on a child custody arrangement that will best provide for the child. During divorce or legal separation, the courts may grant temporary child custody rights to one of the parents.
These orders may not stay once the divorce is finalized but help give the child an established schedule and routine during the divorce process.
If there is more than one child, typically the children live together for moral support, but the court may separate the children between parents. It may also be possible for the divorce courts to award child custody to a third party or close family member.
Typically, the biological parents are considered fit to raise the child, unless there is evidence that suggests otherwise. The burden of proving a parent unfit is a high one and generally isn't an issue in most divorces.
Child custody depends on the circumstances of your divorce and living arrangements. Learn about state divorce laws regarding child custody may be affect your relationship with your child by speaking to a local divorce lawyer.
Fill out a divorce case review form or call 877-349-1310 to set up a preliminary consultation today. If your child custody case doesn't involve a divorce, we may still be able to connect you with a local attorney who is familiar with family law in your state.
The above synopsis of child custody laws is by no means all-inclusive and is not intended to provide legal advice. These laws may have changed since our last update and there may be additional laws that apply in your situation. For the latest information on these divorce laws, please contact a local divorce lawyer in your area.