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How does the Court Determine Child Custody?

The issue of child custody may seem like an easy issue in the event of divorce, but this is rarely the case. Child custody cases are often complex and require the assistance of knowledgeable, experienced attorneys to represent a parent seeking legal advice and representation regarding how the court will determine child custody. The child custody attorneys at The Levoritz Law Firm  understand the laws involving child custody and have the expertise to help guide their clients toward a favorable outcome in their custody case.

The courts determine which parent may gain custody of the children in the case of a divorce. The court also hears cases related to unmarried parents that have child custody cases before the court.

Physical and Legal Custody

There are several factors that parents, as clients of experienced child custody attorneys, should understand as they seek to gain custody of their child or children. The state recognizes both the physical and the legal custody of minor children that are under the age of 18. The courts may determine that one parent has both legal and physical custody. The court may also issue other orders related to both the legal and physical custody.

So, what is legal and physical custody? Why do you need an attorney to help you with your path to try to gain both legal and physical custody of your children?

The parent, or another person designated by the court, that has legal custody has the right to make all important decisions related to a child’s care. Examples include that this individual makes decisions related to the child’s medical care, and their religious training or upbringing.

The court may order joint legal custody. This means that both parents are involved in these decisions. A parent often still seeks the advice and representation of an attorney with child custody expertise to make sure that their rights are protected, and that those of the child are also protected during any legal custody proceedings.

The court orders physical custody to a parent to determine which parent the child will reside with, either permanently, or until the final ruling of the child custody case. The parent with physical custody is responsible for the actual physical supervision and the care of the child.

The Court and Child Custody Law

Child custody law provides that the court will act and make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the child. This means that the court may give sole custody to one parent or may make a decision that gives joint custody to both parents.

Although there is no real standard definition of what constitutes “the best interest of the child,” the judge considers multiple factors to determine the best interest of the child in custody cases.

Some factors that the court considers include:

  • Which parent can offer the child the best stability
  • Conditions within the home environment
  • Financial ability to provide for the child
  • Issues of child neglect, child abuse or abandonment
  • Issues regarding substance abuse
  • Physical and mental health of the parent

The court may also consider issues related to any special needs of each of the children, along with allegations or documentation of spousal abuse, the work schedules of each of the parents, and which parent has been the primary caregiver. The court may decide custody of the children when also considering the parenting and nurturing skills of each parent, and the court’s observation of each of the parents during the custody proceedings in the court.

Your child custody attorney can help you present any of these issues, or other specific issues that relate to the unique facts of your specific case. The attorney has your rights and those of your child in mind when fighting for you in your custody case.

Filing a Custody Petition and Seeing the Case Through

Parents that want to pursue custody of their children often receive strategic counsel from an attorney that has experience fighting for the rights of parents and children in these types of cases.

Parents often do not know legal proceedings or laws related to child custody. They may not know how to best present themselves as the best option for legal and physical custody, so that the court rules that custody with that parent is indeed in the best interest of the child.

Get the help that you need to understand how the court determines child custody, and an attorney that will fight for your rights and the best interest of your child.


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