How Can You Gain an Understanding of Child Custody Laws?


Quick Answer

To gain an understanding of child custody laws, first research nationwide laws at sites such as Cornell University's Legal Information Institute. Then, use sites such as About Parenting, which details state-specific laws concerning child custody.

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In cases of divorce, the court that has jurisdiction of divorce proceedings also determines child custody, according to the Legal Information Institute. If children are born while their parents are married, parental rights are equal under the common statutory provision, and parents have joint guardianship and equal claim to custody of the child. When determining where to place a child, the primary decision-making factor is the best interest of the child, as explained by the Legal Information Institute. This includes what is most beneficial in terms of education, health and well-being, and it also means that the court take the child's wishes, the parents' wishes and the relationships that may impact the child's well-being into consideration.

The parent who is granted custody has control over decisions pertaining to the child's religious upbringing, health care, and education, according to the Legal Information Institute. There are also many different types of custody to consider, such as temporary custody; exclusive custody, which is total custody granted to one parent at the exclusion of the other; and joint custody, which involves both parents having equal custody of the child, as DivorceNet explains.

While some child custody laws are similar throughout the United States, About Parenting notes that each state has different laws and procedures for establishing child custody. The site encourages concerned parents to use its resources to learn about child custody laws that are specific to the states involved in their custody situation.

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