When we talk about child custody we are talking about one of the most important issues and one that most affects the deepest feelings of the citizen.
Responsibility for children rests with both parents. Both the mother and the father want to be part of their children’s lives and for this reason when a sentimental separation occurs, both parents must think above all of their children.
Separations do not always occur amicably and unfortunately child custody is one of the most controversial aspects. This requires that both parents speak with child custody attorneys experienced enough to ensure the well-being of the minors.
Because the really important thing is the children. Ensure their well-being and that they will have everything they need to develop as people.
In what cases do I have to hire child custody lawyers?
Still not sure if you have to hire a lawyer to get custody of your child? Although the law does not require you to hire an attorney , representing yourself is sometimes not enough. Appearing in court without an attorney when custody of your child is at stake is ill-advised .
There are factors that can make it difficult to hire a child custody lawyer, such as economics. But you must remember that what is at stake is the well-being of your child and its custody.
I advise you to consult a lawyer in the following cases.
- The other parent has a lawyer.
- Your ex-partner has psychological problems.
- They’re trying to keep you from seeing your son
- His ex asks for sole custody.
- If the parents live in different states or even in different countries.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
The United Nations developed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child . This convention is the basis of the custody laws of all states, as well as for most countries in the world . These are the most important articles of this convention.
- Article 3: “a primary consideration to be addressed will be the best interests of the child”.
- Article 9: “they shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if this is contrary to the best interests of the child.”
- Article 10: “The child whose parents reside in different States shall have the right to maintain periodically, except in exceptional circumstances, personal relationships and direct contacts with both parents”
The most important thing is the best interest of the child
Both in the United States and in all Western countries, when a judge awards custody of a child to one of the parents, either the mother or the father, he does so with the welfare of the child in mind .
Whoever gets custody will ultimately have to make the most important decisions in the child’s life . This is why although laws vary from state to state, all state laws are based on a common pattern in which the best interests of the child are paramount .
The responsibility for the custody of the children belongs to both parents if they are recognized as having the right to access custody
The judge also usually takes into consideration the opinion of the child depending on the child’s age , in case he has to favor one of the parents to the detriment of the other. This is intended to prevent abuse by one of the parents.
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What state has jurisdiction over the custody of my children?
In the United States, child custody laws vary from state to state and even between districts. Therefore, it is important to know which laws will apply in our case.
All child custody state laws are based on a basic law, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act , which states that the state in which the child lived for the last 6 months before of divorce.
What Types of Child Custody Exist in the United States
Knowing the terms used legally to define the type of custody in each case is important for both parents.
#1 Legal custody.
We can define this term as the right and obligation to decide on the most important aspects of a child’s life. Among these decisions is the type of education, religion, health insurance, etc.
#2 Sole Custody and Joint Custody.
In the first case we would be when the custody corresponds to one of the parents and in the second case when it corresponds to both parents.
#3 Physical custody.
With this term he refers to the place where the child will reside . In turn, custody can be sole or joint.
#4 Exclusive custody.
Exclusive custody is granted to one of the parents, either the mother or the father, if the judge considers that the physical integrity of the child is in danger with one of them . This class of custody is granted if the divorce was granted for one of the following reasons:
- Domestic violence.
- Consumption of alcohol or narcotic substances.
- One of the parents is in jail.
- Due to mental problems of one of the parents.
#5 Joint custody.
In this case , both parents share custody of the child. It is granted if there is no reason to advise against granting it.
All the most important aspects of child rearing need to be stipulated in the joint custody agreement. From the place where the minor lives and with whom, to the vacation period, birthday of the minor, the place where the child will be delivered from one parent to another, medical care, school, sports, religion taught, etc.
Logically, each family situation is different and therefore the judge will take this into account when pointing out each aspect of custody . For example, if the parents have their residence close to each other, the child can spend short periods of time with each one, while if they live far apart, the periods will be longer.
What does a court consider when awarding child custody?
The main principle that is taken into account in all courts, regardless of the state you are in, is the best interest of the child . Based on this principle, the following criteria will prevail.
- Child safety . Do any of the parents have a history of violence? Is it safe where the child is going to live?
- Child attachment . If the child is listened to, which is normally done from the age of 12, it will be taken into account which of the parents the child is closest to.
- Parents’ health . Parents’ current health, chronic illnesses, mental health, if you are a drinker, smoker, or even drug user.
- Financial situation. The custodial parent must have sufficient resources to support himself and the child.
Important Child Custody Issues
When it comes to deciding child custody, questions arise that can be difficult to answer if not with the legal help of child custody lawyers in the United States.
1. What happens if one of the parents dies?
In this case, it is recommended to go to court as soon as possible to request custody rights over the minor.
2. Can a grandparent get custody of a grandchild to the detriment of the parents?
The child custody laws of the United States give parents priority over grandparents in obtaining custody if there is no impediment against it.
3. Do I have to hire a lawyer to get custody of my child?
The law does not require the hiring of a child custody lawyer in the United States, although it is advisable to have the legal help of these types of lawyers.
4. Is what a minor says in court taken into account?
It depends on the age of the child. If the child is a teenager, her word will have considerable weight when determining who is granted custody in each case.
5. What does the best interest of the child mean?
This is the most important principle that the cost of issuing a judgment must take into account. And within this principle, the court will value the physical and emotional security of the child above the economic interest.
6. Can third parties influence the custody of my children?
The judge may access the evidence he deems appropriate to decide who grants custody of the child. And among these tests is to know the personal relationships of both parents and that could alter the emotional stability of the minor.
7. What type of custody is most common in the United States?
Most child custody cases in the United States end in joint custody.