Child Custody: It’s all about Ensuring the Best Interest of the Child

Child Custody: It’s all about Ensuring the Best Interest of the Child

Child custody, which is intended to ensure that the best interests of the child are prioritized even after divorce, is a critical divorce-related issue. Its mandate is that the child’s future should never be compromised. Thus, whoever the court assigns as the custodial parent becomes responsible with regard to the child’s education, medical care and other growth needs.

The law firm Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht explains, “Child custody and support cases can arise for a number of reasons and situations. Separations, divorce, parental deaths, parental incompetence, and a variety of other situations can give rise to child custody hearings. These are never easy, regardless of the different reasons for a custody hearing. Such cases are particularly important as they deal with the future of a child, and all parties involved should seek to find a custody solution that is in the best interest of a child, both short- and long-term. This becomes difficult, however, when multiple parties each believe they can provide the best environment for the child, and in such cases, legal action is necessary to ensure the child is put with the parent or guardian that will provide the best care. Given the gravity of such a decision, it is imperative to have an experienced and dedicated team to guide you through the often frightening experience of undergoing a custody battle.”

While there may be different types of child custody, courts, if they can, assigns both parents as custodians to ensure their continuous participation in their child’s life.

Child custody can be:

  • Legal custody – this type of custody grants the custodial parent the right to decide about what is good for their child, such as where the child should study and what church he/she should go to are a couple of these things. Some courts usually award legal custody to both parents. If this will be the case, then the custodial parent will have no right to withhold the responsibility and right of the other parent to decide for their child.
  • Sole custody – if one parent is deemed unfit by the judge to continue caring for his/her child, usually due to drug dependency, alcoholism, mental incapacity, child abuse or unsuitable new partner, or unsuitable living environment, then sole custody will most probably the court’s option.
  • Physical custody – this type allows the custodial parent to be in the same house with his/her children. If the parents happen to live near one another, then joint physical custody may be decided by the court instead; this decision will also allow both parents to continue spending almost equal time with their child.
  • Joint custody –this type of custody allows both parents to have joint and joint legal custody over their child.
  • Split Custody – Though an uncommon type of custody, this, however, refers to situations where siblings may be split between two parents.

Custody decisions are not always final and may be appealed for a number of reasons, particularly if the person granted with custody later proves unfit or drastic changes occur in the child or parent’s life.