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Custody of Children

Joint Custody: Parents with joint custody will share the rights and responsibilities concerning physical control and custody of their children. Joint custody is applied if the parents are divorced, separated, no longer living together, or even if they have never lived together.

Sole Custody: This form of custody means one parent has the responsibility for the care and up-bringing of a child. Most states are modifying the regulations from granting sole custody to one parent and toward expanding the role of the non-custodial parent. In this type of situation, one parent is the principal physical caretaker and the other parent has visitation rights.

Legal Custody: With having legal custody of a child, you are entitled make decisions about how the child is raised. If you have legal custody, you can make decisions regarding a child's medical care, education and religion.

Physical Custody: Physical custody includes control of where the child resides. Several states will grant joint physical custody to both parents when recognized that the child spends a considerable amount of time with both parents.

Factors Considered When Granting Child Custody:

When making decisions regarding the custody of a child, courts may take into account the following to determine the best interest of the child:

  1. The number and age of children.
  2. The parents' ability to agree, communicate and collaborate in matters pertaining to the child.
  3. The relationship and interaction of the child with its siblings and parents.
  4. The stability of the home environment.
  5. The history of domestic violence, if any.
  6. The needs of the child.
  7. The parents' compliance to agree to custody
  8. The quality and continuity of the child's education.
  9. The physical health of the parents.
  10. The geographic proximity of the parents' homes.
  11. The safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other party.
  12. Any history of reluctance to agree to child visitation not based on substantiated abuse.
  13. The safety of the child.
  14. The preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision.
  15. The extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or following the separation.
  16. The parents' employment responsibilities.
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