Monday, June 8, 2009

Child Custody Laws That Impact Your Case

By Dianna Nelsun

Child custody laws are formed under the family laws in civil law. These are the laws that guide how a judge or how the state views what is in the best interest of the child. If you are involved in a child custody case, it is imperative that you learn the laws that affect custody so you can have a favorable result in your case.

All custody laws are based on the principle that anything that is done with the child after parents divorce should be in the best interest of the child. This means that is should be done with the welfare and safety of the child in mind. Every state has different laws deciding what is in the child's best interest.

Now, parents always have the right to have visitation with their child. This is a law in every state. The only time this wouldn't apply is if one of the parents is abusive or it is detrimental to the child to spend time with that parent. The court decides if this is the case, not the other parent. Parents don't ever have the right to deny the other parent visits because of personal feelings. The states have decided that having a good relationship with both the mother and father is the best thing for the child.

The court shouldn't show any favoritism to either parent when deciding how to grant custody. Both parents, unless one of them has been declared unfit, have an equal claim to the children. A parent can be declared unfit if they are abusive, involved with illegal drugs, or involved in crime. The majority of states have decided that joint custody is the best default custody arrangement--and even more states are starting to adopt that idea.

Another common law is child support. Every state has guidelines for calculating the amount of child support. This is because the state requires that parents provide financially for their children after a divorce. Child support is not tied to visitation however, and visits cannot be denied because a parent is late on child support.

Because every state has different custody laws, you should find the specific laws that will apply to your case. These can be found at the library, online, from your attorney, or at the courthouse. This should help you create the custody agreement that you want.

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