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What is Custody of a Child?

Child Custody and Visitation written on a paper and a book.

Decisions concerning which parents will have custody of children after a divorce, and the details of those custody arrangements, are determined by the courts. This reality makes it essential for the parents to present the best case possible for the custody status they desire. Child custody lawyers assist in assembling the information needed for the judges to review.

Multi-State Custody Issues

When parents live in different states, or if one parent moves to a different state during or after a divorce, the rules set by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) come into play. This law helps establish the jurisdiction of the case, and the judge that will implement or modify custody agreements. These often require the insights and assistance of custody lawyers to fully protect each parent’s desires and rights.

Ensuring a child’s best interests are served is the concept behind determining custody. There are multiple types of custody, and they deal with such issues as:

  • Physical custody
  • Legal custody
  • Sole and joint custody and visitation
  • Grandparent custody and visitation

Those going through a divorce often rely on the advice of experienced custody lawyers to ensure the rights of each parent relative to the child are spelled out in a detailed custody agreement. The design of these agreements provide clear guidance in the areas of parental responsibility and parenting time. However, the preferred terminology today moves away from the concept of custody and focuses more on the issue of responsibility and sharing of time.

The custody lawyers will present to the court all of the evidence, information and testimony of experts they collect and document. These factors also include the expressed desires of the parents, child, and grandparents. This body of input is then used by the judge to determine what arrangements are “in the child’s best interests.”

The form of custody and parental responsibility designated will normally be either sole or joint custody. The custody type determines the parenting time and individual responsibilities shared between the two parents. If a parent receives sole custody or parental responsibility, that parent will make the legal, medical and other decisions for the child, while often sharing parenting time with the other parent under an agreed schedule.

The issue of custody is often a changing situation after a divorce. When a parent moves, remarries or experiences a change in lifestyle, they use custody lawyers to seek changes in existing custody agreements with a post-decree modification.

Uncontested divorce lawyer Denise Erlich is passionate about helping divorcing couples in the greater Chicagoland area transition to their new life as seamlessly as possible. Ms. Erlich patiently guides her clients through every step of the divorce process and provides clients with candid advice about their case and legal options, so they can make informed decisions about their future.

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