In many divorce cases the court determines the child custody arrangements. If the spouses have children together while married, the parents have joint guardianship over that child and the parental rights are equal. Upon divorce, each parent has an equal right to the custody of the child when they separate.
The parent who retains sole or primary custody has control over decisions pertaining to the child’s education, religious affiliation and health care. Courts have the option of choosing one of several types of custody.
• Temporary custody grants custody of the child to an individual during the divorce or separation proceeding.
• Exclusive custody endows one parent with custody rights to the exclusion of the other parent. The non-custodial parent often receives visitation rights or supervised visitation rights.
• Joint custody grants each parent equal rights in making decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. Courts award joint custody for cases in which both parents can properly perform their duties as parents. A court may even award the custody of a child to a third-party, such as a grandparent or godparent, if the third-party has sought custody. In a marriage with multiple children, the court may separate the children and split the custody between parents in accord with the best interest of each particular child. However, normally, the best interests of a child will be to live with his or her siblings.
In determining child custody, the court attempts to place the children in the home which will be in the best interests of the child. This is often the most difficult and emotionally-fraught part of the entire divorce proceedings. Child custody decisions are based on the wishes of the parents, the child in question, siblings, other people with strong attachments to the child as well as the child’s age and comfort level in the home, school and community in question.
When the court awards child custody to just one parent, the non-custodial parent normally has the right to see and visit the child. In extraordinary circumstances, the courts may impose restrictions on visitations by the noncustodial parent.
If you are going through a divorce and battling with your spouse over child custody, you owe it to yourself to get the best possible legal representation. We will be by your side every step of the way protecting your rights and those of your children. Call the law offices of Martin Sir & Associates at 615-256-5661.