Child custody issues are complex, oftentimes confusing and of major concern for married couples. Many couples will stay in an unhappy marriage because they don’t want to go through child custody disputes or disrupt their family environment.
The most common child custody issues in the United States include:
1. Sole Custody Without a Court Order
Parents that choose not to go to court to determine parental rights will, under normal circumstances, have joint custody or rights of their children. A good example of this would be a couple that had children, but were not married.
Either parent can go to court over custody rights, but it’s often easier to hash out these rights outside of the courts.
But both parents would still maintain equal rights to custody.
2. Understanding “Best Interest”
The “best interest” of a child will be a topic of discussion during all child custody issues. Parents often argue that it’s in the child’s best interest to remain with them, but this goes beyond financial aspects in most cases.
Best interests can deal with:
- Physical and emotional health and development
- Domestic violence
- Ability to financially support the child
- Social background and lifestyle of the parent
- Health of the parent
- Changes in school and sport activities
The best interests of a child will look at several pertinent factors, and these will be used as a whole to determine which parent should maintain custodial rights.
3. Physical vs Legal Custody Rights
Physical and legal custody rights need to be considered. Legal custody deals with the right to make decisions for:
- Health and medical issues
Physical custody deals with the parent’s right to live with the child. There are cases where physical custody is granted, but legal custody may be granted to the opposing parent.
4. Joint Custody
Joint custody is when both parents will share the legal custody of the child. A great deal of cooperation is needed between both parents in this case. Sole custody, on the other hand, only grants visitation rights in most cases to the non-custodial parent.
5. Custodial Parents Moving to Another State
The rights of the non-custodial parent need to be considered and met when moving to another state. A parent cannot move to another state if it will interfere with the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent.
In order to move to another state, approval from the courts will be required.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. Brad has a special expertise in working with child custody.You can read more on this topic by visiting our Child Custody & Support blog. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.