Child Custody Definition and Men’s Rights to Child Custody
Child custody does not always involve a parent. Anyone can fight for the custody or guardianship of a child if it is in the child’s best interest. Child custody is a legal and practical relationship between a guardian, a parent or parents, and the child. Anyone awarded with the child’s care remains in that person’s custody until the court says otherwise. Being awarded child custody means that a person has legal custody and makes decisions for and about the child. This advocate provides physical, emotional, and mental support to the child in their care. In addition, this person has the right to house and provides the best care possible for the child.
Child custody cases arise in divorce proceedings, annulments, separations cases, adoption cases, and in the event of the death of one or both parents. All courts throughout the United States recognize that the child’s best interest determines custody of that child.
Years ago, a court automatically awarded child custody to the mother except in unique situations. The father had few rights in child custody hearings. As little as 20 years ago, in the early 21st Century, a father’s rights in custody hearings began to surface. Now the mother and father have equal rights. However, the best interest of the child is the primary focus.
Often the court may allow joint custody between the father and mother. Joint custody gives each parent an equal right to make decisions for and about the child. Awarding custody of a child is a sensitive issue, and judges do not take custody cases lightly. For this reason, parents must set their differences aside to maintain an active role in their child’s life and peacefully agree regarding custody, visitation, and child support. Unfortunately, child custody hearings can be a difficult challenge. That’s why it is important to consult joint legal custody attorneys. However, parents must cooperate and agree because if they are not, this opens the door for the court to make these decisions that neither parent wants to see.
What are the Considerations of the Judge in a Child Custody Decision?
Our attorney tells the parent that they must not show the judge that they are trying to damage the child’s relationship with the other parent. If the judge recognizes this negative attitude, it will affect custody and visitation rights. There are numerous factors that the judge must consider in child custody hearings, and they are as follows.
- Communication and cooperation between the parents are of utmost importance for the attorney or judge to bear witness. Neither parent must exhibit hostility towards the other, play a blame game, show anger, and display any actions or words that put the other parent in a negative light.
- Parents participating in custody hearings must want and be willing to accept custody of the child. If either parent does not especially want custody of the child, their desires must be made known to the attorney and judge. Being awarded custody to spite the other parent and not wanting custody is terrible for the child.
- Parents frequently make the mistake of decreasing the other parent’s time with the child or forbid the parent visitation rights when there is no purpose evident for doing so. If the judge observes this action, this parent is hurting their chances for custody and visitation.
- The judge closely observes the child’s interaction with each parent and their siblings. For example, if the child navigates closer to one parent over the other parent, the judge weighs this action and investigates why the child prefers one parent over the other parent. Custody becomes more complicated when there is more than one child. For example, one child may desire to go with the mother while the other prefers the father.
- If the judge knows a history of domestic violence existed in the home by the father or mother, custody is not awarded to that parent, and visitations may be restricted with the offending parent. The safety of the child is of utmost importance.
- If the child is old enough to reason and make an intelligent decision, the judge meets with the child to discuss their preference of which parent they most want to live with and which parent they would prefer had custody of them. The judge weighs how the child feels and their desires before deciding and awarding custody. The needs of the child play a vital role in which the parent the judge awards custody.
- The parents must agree on nearly everything regarding the child, such as education. Parents must agree on how and where the child goes to school and the type of education.
- The judge likely will not award custody to a parent who is not physically able or of sound mind to care for a child. Being physically fit does not mean that a parent must be involved in a fierce exercise regimen every day or be a triathlon athlete. The parent must be able to meet the physical demands of childcare. If the parent is bedridden or wheelchair-bound, the judge examines these circumstances thoroughly.
- The judge examines the work responsibilities of the parents. For example, does the parent work close to home five days a week, eight hours per day, or does the parent have a further demanding job that requires them to be away from home for long periods, out of the country, or called to work at all hours? The judge may want to know how flexible the job is for the parent raising a child. The judge also considers the parent who does not have a job and especially if the parent is living with someone else and does not have a home to call their own.
- It is always said that it is not the quantity of time a parent spends with a child, but the quality of time spent. Therefore, the judge looks at the time spent with the child and if the time truly benefits the child. Consider how the parent without a job can support a child appropriately.
- The judge may also look at the stability of the home’s infrastructure, how close the parents live from each other, and the ages of all children involved in the custody hearing.
A Call to Action in Child Custody Hearings
Both parents must have legal representation by a seasoned and experienced attorney due to the complexity of child custody cases. These cases put the child in the middle, so the child’s well-being is of utmost concern. Unfortunately, parents often forget the feelings of the child and what a divorce is doing to them emotionally.
A seasoned child custody attorney, such as Child custody lawyer Carrie Schultz, can provide valuable advice, resolutions, arrangement options regarding custody, parenting skills, visitation rights, and other issues surrounding the child. Every child custody case is uniquely different. Therefore, it is vital for both parents to engage in the process of negotiations willingly and actively.
Successful negotiations mean that the case does not have to go to court, which is increasingly difficult for the child. In addition, children often blame themselves for the parent’s divorce, wrongly believing that they did something to create the divorce. Finally, divorce and custody battles often create life-long emotional issues with the child. Often, the child has relationship problems with either parent or in the future with other people such as a spouse as the child becomes an adult.