Family Law

common questions regarding divorce, custody, and adoption

What is physical custody?

Physical custody pertains to the actual physical residence of the child and to the caring of the child on a daily basis.

What is legal custody?

Legal custody refers to the decision making with respect to the child's welfare. This includes educational, religious, and medical decisions.

What is joint custody?

Joint custody occurs when a court assigns custody of the child to both parents. This can take the form of either joint physical custody (see above), joint legal custody (see above), or both. The courts often award joint custody because it is believed that the child benefits from interaction with both parents. However, factors such as alcoholism and drug addiction, domestic violence, abuse, and neglect are taken into consideration before a joint custody is awarded.

What is a custody evaluation?

When both parents cannot agree on child custody in a contested divorce, the judge may assign a custody evaluator to perform a child custody evaluation. The evaluator will conduct an interview with both parents and on the basis of this, will make a recommendation to the judge about custody and visitation.

If a parent fails to make child support payments, will this affect his or her visitation rights?

No. There is no dependency between child support and visitation rights. Although one may feel that a person who is delinquent in his/her child support payments is not deserving of visitation rights, there is no connection between the two.

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