After parents separate, child custody becomes a really hard topic of conversation. The two parties normally end up having to deal with so many different things that are very hard to understand. Being rational is difficult.
The most important thing to remember, according to Harshberger Law Firm, the authorities and practically everyone involved, is that the best interest of the child is always the top priority. Everything that happens in the future will take that into account.
Child Custody Is Rarely Awarded To Just One Of The Parents
In most situations the court will award child custody rights to both of the parents. This is what is known as “joint custody, which normally has one of the following forms:
- Joint Physical Custody – A relatively equal amount of time is spent with both parents.
- Joint Legal Custody – Educational, religious, medical or other child-related decisions will be shared.
- Both legal and physical custody.
Basically, the court is more than willing to award a joint custody. However, in some cases this does not happen because of the fact that one parent shows that he/she is completely unfit to be a parent.
Can Another Person Have Legal Or Physical Custody?
There are rare cases in which no parent can assume child custody in a suitable manner. This can happen because of various situations, like mental health problems or substance abuse. If this is the case, temporary child custody is offered to a guardian or some sort of foster care arrangement is made.
How Do Courts Decide On Visitation And Custody Decisions?
Because of the fact that the best interests of the child are considered, normally, courts favor parents that can show the highest possible stability given in the surroundings of the child. What has to be remembered about this is that so many different facts can be considered. The judge is mostly interested in the continuity shown in the life of the child. Maintaining the child’s community, religious ties and school ties is a priority.
The main factors that are considered are age, physical health, mental health, gender, parent physical health, parent mental health, lifestyle, emotional ties and the ability of a parent to provide children with shelter, food and all else that is needed.
Is Race Considered?
It is completely unconstitutional for the court to take race into account when deciding child custody or visitation rights. Getting remarried is also not something that is considered. Whenever race is seen as being a factor, the situation is unconstitutional.
Will Mothers Be Automatically Awarded Child Custody?
Most people think that mothers automatically get full custody rights. This is not the truth. The courts only favor mothers sometimes because of the fact that there is a stronger tie that is normally established between a young child and a mother.
It needs to be mentioned that most of the divorcing parents do agree that the mother will receive the custody after the divorce. Fathers are normally exercising reasonable visitation. The reason why you see so many mothers receive custody is that the former couple agrees with that.