Child Custody: Common Mistakes to Avoid
If you are a parent, you are aware of the laws surrounding child custody. While the laws may seem clear, the decision making process is often not as clear cut. We have summarized the laws, procedures, and some of the most common errors that can occur in your custody case.
The first decision to make is the legal issue of what type of custody you are seeking.
The most common form of custody is “joint legal custody” and “joint physical custody.” Joint legal custody and physical custody are often used interchangeably. In reality, they are two separate legal concepts, and their implications can differ significantly.
Legal custody is more than physical custody. Legal custody is the power or ability of one parent to make decisions regarding important issues such as:
-Educating the child regarding sex
-Helping the child make important decisions such as where to live
-Paying child support
-Appointing a medical or psychological provider
-Deciding what school the child attends
-Appointing a major or minor league sports coach
-Electing an educational curriculum
-Establishing or changing a child’s health or medical plan
-Establishing or changing a child’s religious or spiritual practices
In many states, one parent is automatically granted legal custody. This type of custody usually results from the Child support attorney Houston being born in one state and living with that parent in another. Therefore, the other parent would automatically be given “sole legal custody” (also called “sole legal care and control”) and “sole physical custody” (also called “sole physical care and control”).
If a parent believes that the other parent is acting in an inappropriate way, a court is more likely to grant the parent � custody.
Joint Legal Custody or Sole Legal Custody
If both parents are listed on a birth certificate as “parents,” both should be listed on a court order as “parents.” However, this is not always the case. While it is generally assumed that both parents are to share legal custody, many states provide that one parent may be granted “sole legal custody” or “sole legal care and control.” This means that the other parent has no ability to make decisions regarding the child’s education, religious or spiritual practices, or medical care.
In some states, if the parents are married, it is assumed that each parent is granted “joint legal custody.” The parents may wish to establish, however, that one parent is granted “sole legal custody.”
In some states, parents may agree to share “joint legal custody,” with one parent being named as the “primary” or “primary care” parent. The term “primary” is often used to refer to the parent who is granted the first right to make decisions. If that is the case, it should be specified in the court order.