Fighting for the custody of your children is not only heart-wrenching but can have life-long effects on the well-being of your children.
There are two types of custody. Physical custody is the actual physical possession and control of a child (a person under 18 years old). It refers to the person with whom the child lives, either all of the time or part of the time. Legal custody is the right to make major decisions about the child, which typically include educational, religious, and medical decisions.
A parent can get sole custody of a child or parents can get shared custody. Shared custody is supposed to give the child frequent and continuing contact with and physical access to both parents. The judge can order shared custody if one or both parents asks for it or the parents agree to it or the judge decides that it is in the best interest of the child.
A parent can also be granted partial custody, which is when a non- custodial parent has the right to have the child live with him/her for a certain period of time.
When the judge issues a custody order, it will also address visitation in addition to legal and physical custody issues. Visitation is the right for the non-custodial parent to visit with the child.
What's the difference between partial custody and visitation?
Someone with visitation has the right to visit the child, but not the right to remove the child from the custodial parent's control.
Supervised visitation is the chance to visit with the child while in the presence of a third party who watches the interaction between the parent and child and reports back to the judge.
Supervised visitation centers are not widely available. Where they do exist, visitation takes place at the facility, with staff on duty to observe and to help address safety concerns A relative or friend may also oversee supervised visitation. For example, a father might have supervised visitation of his child at his sister's house, with his sister there to watch. Supervised visitation is only ordered in extreme cases.
Unlike visitation, someone with partial custody of a child has the right to take possession of a child, away from the custodial parent, for a certain period of time. For example, a parent may be awarded partial physical custody of a child for certain days during the week.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of getting a custody order?
There may be advantages to obtaining a custody order, including: ∙ Gaining access to your child if the other parent has control of the child; ∙ Having a fixed custody schedule (telling each parent when they can visit and/or take ∙ possession of the child) enforceable by the judge; ∙ The right to make legal decisions about your child; and ∙ The right to have your child live with you.
Without a custody order, it is possible that you may not have these legal rights, even if you're the parent that takes care of the child every day. But if you file for custody, the other parent may also request these rights and it will be up to the judge to decide.
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