Child Custody and Visitation Rights

child custody and visitation rights

When people choose to separate after many years of their marriage, child custody and visitation forms an important aspect of the divorce proceeding. However, the matter of child custody is not as simple as it appears to be. It is an emotional and highly sensitive matter for both parents. In case, the parents are divorced beforehand, living separately, or are unmarried, the issue of child custody often turns around to be a complicated one.

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However, legal custody is often related to legal matters and refers to a person’s right to make decisions about the child including health care, education, religion, and other important matters.
This is when parents who choose to fight over child custody and visitation rights often choose to hire a child support attorney who will help them through the legal proceedings and make it easy to retain the custody of their child.
According to most of state laws, the word “Custody” is defined as the responsibility of one or both parents for the welfare of the child. Physical custody is what comes to your mind when the word custody is heard.
Every state defines its own law regarding family matters including child support and custody. As opposed to popular belief, the family court does not favor a parent based on his or her gender; rather, the courts give their decision in favor of the best interest of the child.

Physical Custody
Physical custody often refers to a situation when the child lives with one of the parents for the majority of the time. This is alternatively referred to as residential custody.

Different types of Physical Custody Include:

Sole Physical Custody

The family court may grant one of the parents’ sole custody of the child. However, this does not mean that the other parent is barred from making the decisions together in the best interest of the child. With this type of custody, the child will physically reside with one of the parents; however, the non-custodial parent is also awarded visitation rights.

Joint Physical Custody

When neither of the parents wants to give up the custody of the child, the court may often see joint physical custody as a decent option. However, this may not be the case in every divorce proceeding. Joint physical custody is alternatively known as shared parenting and it involves the child to live with one parent for a set number of days and live with the other parent for a specific number of days. The number of days spent with each parent is approximately equal.

Bird Nest Custody

When neither of the parents can live with the child, the court may grant bird nest custody. In this situation, the child lives in a central location and parents come to visit him regularly. So, if the father is living with the child from Monday morning to Thursday evening, the mother can come on Thursday evening and stay until Monday morning.

Legal Custody
Legal custody refers to a situation when the authorities take the major decision in the life of your child. For instance, these major decisions can include deciding the school that the child will attend, what type of religious upbringing the child will receive and other similar vital decisions.

The options included in legal custody are:

Sole Legal Custody

The parent who has won the sole legal custody of the child is the only person who has the right to take major decisions in his life. These decisions generally include healthcare, education, and religious decisions.

Joint Legal Custody

Joint Legal Custody is when the judge doesn’t give preference to a single parent to solely make decisions in the best interest of the child. However, here it must be noted that the parents can share joint legal custody without having the joint physical custody of the child. In simple words, the co-parents will be sharing the legal custody; however, the child can reside primarily with one parent while the other regularly visits him.

The parent-child visitation rights allow a parent to regularly visit his child even when he does not own the physical custody. This makes it easy for the child as well as the parent to see each other more often.

The different types of visitation rights include:

Supervised Visitation

Supervised visitation refers to legal orders, supervised and scheduled contact between the parent and the child. So, a responsible adult must be present along with the parent and the child throughout the duration of the visit. In certain cases, the court may even allow the noncustodial parent to pick up an individual who will serve as the supervisor during the visit.

Unsupervised Visitation

This is one of the most common types of visitation practiced by parents. The noncustodial parent is allowed to take his own children without the supervision of an adult. The parent is allowed to take the children to his home or somewhere else where both the parties can spend some time. However, under certain circumstances, the visitation may have some limitations.

Virtual Visitation

With the advancement in technology, parents are finding different ways to connect with their kids without being physically present. Virtual visitation generally takes place with the help of video conferencing technology. While it is not the best way to connect with your child, it still offers you a chance to talk to your children when you live far away or travel constantly due to work.
While some people can agree to divorce their partner on a mutual basis, some divorces can really turn ugly. This is when it is important to hire a child lawyer to make sure the decision is made in the best interest of the child.
There is no perfect solution to addressing this sensitive issue. Partners who choose to separate must place the child’s custody on priority so that he can enjoy a normal and healthy lifestyle. So whether a single parent chooses to retain the custody or both the parents choose to co-parent the child even after divorce, the ultimate decision should be taken by keeping the children in mind.