Child custody laws vary from state to state. However, when looking into child custody laws, there are some general laws that apply. It is important that when dealing with a custody case, you have a full understanding of how the different laws will affect your individual case.
Most often, the court that has jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings, also has say so in the custody of the children. Whenever a child is born to parents who are married, they both have equal legal rights to the custody of the child should they separate.
The most important consideration in a child custody case is what is in the best interest of the child. The child’s well being takes precedence over the parents wants and desires. Some states believe it is in the best interest of the child to maintain frequent contact with both Mom and Dad. Often times, the parent who is able to be the most supportive of this notion is appointed as the custodial parent.
The custodial parent is the term used for the parent who spends the majority of time with the child. Therefore, a non-custodial parent is the term used for the parent who spends less time with the child.
Most states have an arrangement is place, should both parents disagree on custody of the child. Often times, the parents are required to attend mediation in order to work out a visitation plan that both Mom and Dad can agree upon. With mediation, the parents meet with a neutral third party, who then helps the parents to try and resolve their differences, as they relate to custody.
However, if mediation fails, the parents can then take matters into court. They can present both sides of their cases to the judge and let him or her make the final decision as to the custody of the child.
Child custody cases can be extremely difficult and expensive. A mutual agreement is preferred, since joint custody is more likely to be utilized, than if a judge were to make the decision for the parents.
There are many factors that come into play in the case of child custody. Since the laws vary from state to state, it is important that a local lawyer be consulted. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the laws of your state, before going forward with a child custody case.