Understanding Child Custody and Visitation

Navigating Child Custody Law

Child custody is a legal agreement between parents of a child or children, whereby the parent with custody is responsible for making decisions about schooling, medical care, and other necessary obligations regarding the child’s upbringing. When parents are unable to agree on an arrangement, court involvement becomes necessary. How is custody determined? The court takes into consideration the age and health of the child, parent’s ability to provide for the child, the parent’s medical history, the child’s wishes, the emotional bond between parent and child, the quality of life the child currently has, and what it will take to maintain their status quo. Learn more about child custody as well as visitation with the expert attorneys at GFT. 

Types of Child Custody

There are two main areas of child custody: legal and physical. When a parent has legal custody, they are granted the rights to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of their child or children. Physical custody refers to the parent that the child or children live with primarily. Under these areas of custody are different types of custody agreements which are temporary, joint and exclusive. 

Temporary Custody

Temporary custody occurs when a final agreement is pending following a legal separation or divorce proceeding. One parent will be granted custody until the decision is finalized. 

Joint Custody

In joint custody agreements, both parents are permitted to have equal visitation rights and equal decision-making benefits with regard to the child’s or children’s upbringing. 

Exclusive Custody

Exclusive custody, also known as sole custody, awards one parent complete and total custody over the child or children. In situations like this, the non-custodial parent may have supervised visitation rights, but one parent would remain in control over decision-making.

Types of Visitation

Visitation refers to the time parents will spend with their child or children depending on the custody agreement. A court will take various factors into consideration when deciding on a visitation schedule. Some of the different types of visitation orders include unsupervised visitation, supervised visitation, and reasonable visitation. 

Unsupervised Visitation

Unsupervised visitation is typically the most common visitation order. The noncustodial parent is able to pick up their child or children on the days they are allotted. Schedules are created and certain restrictions may be implemented depending on the circumstances at hand. 

Supervised Visitation

A supervised visitation requires another adult to be present during the visit of a child and or children with the other parent. 

Reasonable Visitation

Reasonable visitation allows the custodial and noncustodial parent to figure out visitation schedules on their own. This works especially well for parents who have maintained good relationships and are cooperative. 

GFT Will Help You Navigate the Custodial Process

If you are facing divorce or legal separation and are unable to reach a custody agreement on your own, contact Gilligan, Frisco & Trutanich. Our lawyers will provide the personal attention your case deserves at every step of the process, with your children’s best interests at the forefront. We negotiate favorable settlements whenever it is possible and advocate tirelessly for all of our clients in the courtroom to obtain the most successful outcome. Schedule a free consultation with us today.

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