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Understanding Child Custody 

If you are going through a divorce and want to know what to expect from the child custody process, you have come to the right place. Child custody can be intensely contentious, but it’s never too late to learn the facts. You can also consult a family law attorney in Monroe, NC, to get the best legal advice for your case.

What is Child Custody?

Child Custody is a legal proceeding where the parents of a child must agree on raising and nurturing their young one, whether together or separately. Child Custody can also be referred to as Parental Responsibility. The term custody refers to who makes decisions for the child, while “parental responsibility” refers to physical and legal responsibilities for raising a child. 

Different types of child custody

  • Legal Custody

This custody type applies when there is no court-ordered issue between the parties. After all the other problems are resolved, the judge will decide which parent has the “legal” right to raise the child.

  • Physical Custody

This type of custody entails that either parent has physical possession of the child. The parent who does not have physical control may visit their child regularly but cannot move in with them or otherwise exercise an “enabling” role in their day-to-day life. 

  • Joint, shared, or co-custody

People think that this type of custody means that the parents must compromise and share everything and anything about their child and upbringing. This is not the case. Joint custody is a legal proceeding where parents both have legal and physical custody. Joint custody means that both parties work together on decisions affecting the child’s well-being and upbringing, rather than having one parent overrule the other. 

  • Sole Custody

Sole custody is also known as “sole parental responsibility,” which refers to only one parent having legal or physical custody of a child. The parent who exercises sole custody may be awarded exclusive decision-making rights.

How is child custody determined?

When deciding on child custody, the judge will consider:

  • The best interest of the child. 
  • Each parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the welfare and development of the children. 
  • Each parent’s ability to protect and promote each child’s health, safety, and welfare.
  • Undue hardship to each parent caused by the other party’s refusal or inability to grant consent for an order concerning such matters as reunification services or visitation. 
  • Any other factors that would change custody, in this case, are in the best interests of any child involved.

It’s important to remember that whether you’re seeking child custody or trying to avoid the issue altogether, parental responsibility is never an option. 

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