5 Facts about Child Custody Law


One of the most contentious elements of many divorce cases is child custody. A parent heading into a divorce case needs to understand some basic elements about child custody law, including these five key facts.


5 Facts about Child Custody Law

The judicial standard used across the United States to determine which parent should be granted primary custody of a child in a divorce case is the best interests of the child standard. The best interest of the child is determined on a case-by-case basis and in consideration of a wide range of factors, including which parent historically has been the primary caretaker of the child, as well as the mental and physical health of both parents and the child. A consideration of each parent's residential status is also common.


Elements of a Custody Motion

A custody motion contains a general statement of facts designed to enumerate why a particular individual should be designated as the primary custodial parent. In most cases, the motion also makes mention of why the other parent should not be granted primary custody. Finally, a motion includes the contention that designated a particular parent as the primary custodian of a minor meets the best interests of that child.

Custody and Parenting Time

In addition to establishing custody of a child, a court must also determine parenting time. Also known as visitation, it is the time that the noncustodial parent spends with the child. Parenting time is said to be allowed in a reasonable and regular manner.

Reaching a Custody Agreement

Courts in the U.S. prefer parents to reach an agreement between themselves when it comes to the matter of child custody and parenting time. Once the parents reach an agreement, the court reviews it and approves it if the judge determines that it is in the best interests of the child.

Custody Mediation

An ever-increasing number of jurisdictions in the U.S. utilize mediation in child custody matters. A mediator works with parents in an attempt to reach an agreement on custody and parenting time.

Child custody represents one of the most contentious elements of a divorce case. In many cases, a parent best protects his or her own rights in regard to such matters by engaging the services of an experience family law lawyer. Typically, a fee is not charged for an initial consultation with a prospective client when discussing child custody.