Overview of Child Custody, Visitation, and Support
Child custody, visitation rights, and child support are all intertwined when determining what is in the best interests of a child during a divorce. Many parents have questions about how these determinations effect one another and what the ramifications are for them as custodial or noncustodial parents. At 1-800-Family-Law, we work to find you experienced, quality family law attorneys in your area who can advocate for your parental rights and fight for the custody, visitation, and support you want following a divorce.
Child custody refers to both the legal and physical custody of a child after a divorce. Legal custody refers to which parent will retain the rights to make decisions about the child’s wellbeing, while physical custody refers to where the child will reside after the divorce is final. Child custody can either be sole custody with one parent or joint custody with both parents. Child custody laws vary, but most states are preferring joint custody of the child, sole custody may still be awarded to one parent if the court believes that it is in the best interests of the child. Custody is typically determined at the same time as child support and visitation rights.
Visitation is the right of the noncustodial parent to spend time with their child. Visitation is typically established at the same time as custody and child support. It is important to note that child support is not affected by the amount of visitation time given to the noncustodial parent but does allow the noncustodial parent physical custody of the child for regularly scheduled periods of time. The court uses the “best interests of the child” standard when determining the appropriate amount of time the noncustodial parent receives for visitation, and states may vary slightly in their list of factors that determines the best interests of the child. A lawyer can help you prepare the best arguments for visitation during the divorce proceedings if you do not believe that you will be awarded custody of your child.
Child support is set simultaneously with custody and visitation by the court, and it refers to the amount of money the noncustodial parent must pay to the custodial parent every month for the child’s basic living expenses and needs. This includes costs for food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and education. The purpose of child support is to maintain the standard of living for the child that is equal to what they would expect if the parents did not divorce.
The amount of support varies by state, so it is important to hire an experienced family law attorney in your area who understands the support guidelines. The amount is typically formulated by each parent’s income, the parents and child’s financial resources, any particular needs, and the physical and emotional condition of the child. The noncustodial parent may also be required to pay additional support for one-time expenses like dental work or extracurriculars such as camps or sporting equipment.
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If you need a family law attorney to help you with child custody, visitation, or support issues, our company can help you with your search. Call the office or contact us today at 1-800-Family-Law for help finding an experienced family law attorney in your area.