Child custody rights, which are also referred to as custody of a child, are awarded to anyone that can have a positive influence on a child following the divorce of a couple or the death of a parent or legal guardian. Not many people realize this but child custody rights don’t just come after a divorce. They also come following the death of single parent. Even though the two circumstances are completely different, they are both incredibly traumatizing. Losing a parent at a young age because of death can emotionally affect a child for the rest of their life while the divorce of a child’s parents can also affect them emotionally but not as much. Child custody rights can be awarded to parents, grandparents, step-parents, cousins, friends of the family or even other legal guardians of the child. The custody of the child or children is determined by a family court judge.
How are Child Custody Rights Determined?
Child custody rights are determined after the judge involved in the case reviews all of the testimony of the parents, other family members, government officials and the children themselves. Most family law courts will favor the biological parents of children if they are suitable to raise children. Child custody rights are awarded based on the best interests of the child. The child custody rights help to detail the rights and responsibilities of who will have the legal and physical custody of the children. Also, where it is applicable to the case, child support will be added to the decision handed down by the judge.
Who Gets Child Custody Rights?
More often than not the mother in a child custody case will be awarded child custody rights. In fact, less than 10 percent of the time the father is awarded child custody rights. In seven out of ten child custody cases the mother is awarded the rights of her children. Child custody rights can be shared by both parents or can be the primary rights of only one parent and not the other. Joint custody, where both parents are allowed to make decisions regarding the child’s life, is awarded approximately 20 percent of the time. One of the most important factors in determining child custody rights is the presence of abuse or neglect. If a case does not involve abuse or neglect then the court will allow the parents to decide the custody rights as long as the arrangement is approved by a family court judge.
Child Custody through Mediation
Mediation is a popular way for couples and other people involved in a child’s life to determine child custody rights. Mediation involves a third party that is not biased to either side of the case and will not rule in favor of one side or the other because he or she is a friend of someone involved in the case. The use of a mediator helps both sides of the case come to an agreement on child custody rights in a timely and effective manner. The mediator uses the information provided by both parents and the children to help the couple come to a decision. The mediator will provide unbiased advice for both sides as well as possible, unbiased, solutions that the couple could agree to.
If you have questions or concerns regarding child custody, contact an attorney who can help.