Child Custody Laws

In divorce cases, the court in which the proceedings are held is the one to determine arrangements on child custody.  Common Statutes under family law prescribe that if a couple has children while they are married, the parents then have joint guardianship and equal rights as far as the child(ren) is concerned.  They also get equal right to custody on seperation.

What Parents should consider:

Every state has differing custody laws.  Check the laws of the state that are relevant to you – some presume that parents have joint custody, some don’t.  In other states, an unmarried mother gets custody automatically and some others expect the mother to file for custody. 

It is a parent’s responsibility to become very familiar with the laws in the state of residence, even with a lawyer on retainer.

Every state offers free legal help to people who are not able to pay for the services of a lawyer.  Qualified attorneys offer free consulations to people who need the assistance.

Tips for Parents:

Find a trustworthy lawyer: Winning a reasonable and amicable judgement in a child custody case is important.  It concerns a lot more than just understanding the laws relevant to the case.  

Do homework: Plaintiffs have to actively participate in the case and do as much research as possible.  Also heed the lawyer’s advice and go well prepared for the custody hearing.

Avoid Confrontations: This is a very important fact to keep in mind. Information is generally used to disqualify the parent from getting custody.

Custody: The judge will try to make a decision with the best interests of the child in mind.  Everyone’s wishes are taken into account and then a proper decision is made.  Custody could be temporary, esculusive or joint, depending on the case.  In case of a rancorous divorce, the advice of a third party will get a lot of weightage.

Visitation Rights:  When exclusive custody is granted to a one parent, the court will decide how much visitation the other will get and set up a schedule to make sure that the parents are both involved in the child’s life.

Child custody cases are generally tricky to handle, so everyone involved plays an active role in deciding the best course of action.

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