One of the main issues during a divorce is usually who the children will live with under the divorce decree. If an agreement can’t be worked out, then it’s left to the courts to decide what is in the child or children’s best interest as far which parent has custodial rights.
The types of custodial rights
There are several different types of custodial rights which can be awarded through the courts.
- Physical and legal custody: The parent who is awarded both of these has the sole right to make decisions which deal with the wellbeing of the child or children. That parent is also the person who the child or children will live with the majority of the time. If the legal custodial participation is shared between the two parents; however, the non-custodial parent too has the legal right to makes decisions about what affects the child or children’s welfare.
- Joint custody: In this arrangement, the child or children spend the same amount of time with both parents. This is worked out by the child going back and forth from one household to the other. The parents have to be in total cooperation dealing with the child’s or children’s best interests in order for this method to be successful though.
- Split custody: This option is less favored by the courts because it splits up the children where one or more children live with one parent and then the remaining child or children live with the other parent.
- Unmarried parents: Most states will award sole custodial rights of the child or children, if the parents are unmarried, to the mother. The father can sue for custodial rights, but if the mother is a good parent, it’s rare that he wins this type of suit.
What factors do the courts consider when making the custodial decisions?
The courts take many factors into consideration when making this decision. The child’s best interest is always put first. Plus one of the other main factors here is who is the child or children’s primary caretaker. Also if the child is of an age to make his or her wishes known, the court will take that into consideration.
Although some parents can settle custodial issues without an attorney, to make sure your rights as a parent are handled properly, hiring a family law attorney is really the best choice.
Child custody is one of the most prominent issues in family law. Custody is sometime referred to as guardianship. This family law issue comes into play most often during divorces. Custody disputes are also common when the parents are not a couple. Family law can also come into play when parents die or are declared unfit. It’s a complex area of family law and it’s important to understand what custody really means and if full custody is the best solution.
When courts consider custody cases, they focus on what is in the best interests of the child. There are also state laws that govern custody issues so it’s important to work with a family law attorney that understands your state’s laws and experienced with a variety of custody situations.
What is full custody? When a parent has sole legal custody, he or she is the decision-maker when it comes to the child. These decisions can include a variety of issues such as education, health care and religion. Sometimes, people confuse sole custody with physical custody, which has to do with where the child lives. If a parent has physical custody, the child lives with the custodial parent. In most cases, the non-custodial parent has visitation rights. It’s common for the non-custodial parent can keep the child overnight.
It’s important to understand the issues family law courts consider when it comes to child custody. In Arizona, parents cannot be denied custody based on their gender. There are a variety of factors that affect the decision. First, courts consider the wishes of both the child and the parents. The child’s comfort level when it comes to school, the community and to home are also considerations. Uprooting a child from their home and community can often be traumatic.
Family law courts also take into consideration the safety of the child. They evaluate whether either parent has a history of child abuse or domestic violence. The physical and mental health of both the parents and the child are also considerations. Family law courts consider a variety of other factors. These may include the child and parent relationship, the parent’s willingness to contribute to a meaningful relationship with each parent. Custody is a complex issue and each parent must be prepared for the process.
Paternity suits are initiated for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the father denies paternity and the mother pursues a paternity case to prove parenthood. In other cases, the father may file the paternity suit. He may wish to establish paternity to gain certain rights such as visitation or custody. The child’s rights are also considered during paternity cases. If the father is identified, the child has rights to medical benefits, life insurance policies and inheritances. The child may also be eligible to receive veteran’s and social security benefits.
Family law attorneys are often hired by both parties during the course of a paternity suit. The mother may hire the attorney to help her gain child support after paternity is established. The father may employ a family law attorney to gain access to the child or to protest a paternity suit brought by the mother.
If a paternity suit is contested, the matter is generally resolved in court based on the evidence available. The father participates in genetic testing to determine the likelihood of paternity. These tests, often DNA tests, are advanced and can generally provide the court with enough information to make a paternity ruling. The State of Arizona initially pays for the testing and the potential father signs an agreement to pay for the testing after the fact if he proves to be the father. Genetic testing can provide the parties with a probability of paternity which can establish the legal presumption of paternity. The threshold in Arizona is 95 percent likelihood.
The mother can employ a family law attorney to establish paternity even if the father does not live in the same geographic area. If the paternity is established in another state, it is considered in effect in Arizona. If the mother is not sure who the father is, the family law attorney can assist her in identifying the parent. First, the mother identifies the most likely father and the man is tested. If he does not prove to be the child’s father, then the mother works with her family law attorney to identify other potential candidates for testing.