What You Should Know About Child Custody

Posted on: 19 October 2018

When you have a child, you want to always do what is best for their safety and well-being. However, sometimes this is not as simple as it sounds, particularly when you are dealing with child custody issues. If you are no longer with your child's other parent, whether you were married or not, you may be looking at trying to negotiate the custody of your child. This can be a challenging process, especially if you have never had to deal with it before. Get to know some of the important facts you should be aware of regarding child custody cases. Then, you can be sure that you try to do what is right for your child going forward. 

Parents Generally Have 50/50 Custody Rights

Firstly, according to the courts, parents of a child will generally have equal shares in custody. This is to protect each parent's rights to make decisions on the well-being of their child, see and spend time with their child, and have a role in their child's life. It also implies that both parents have equal responsibility in caring and providing for the child. 

When a child is born, legally, each parent has half of the parental rights and responsibilities. And the courts will continue to assume that the parents share custody rights 50/50 unless something changes or alters this arrangement. 

Parents Can Give Up Their Parental Rights

If you have a partner that does not necessarily want to be a parent, either because they believe the child will be better off without them or because they do not want to be responsible for a child, a person can give up their parental rights. However, giving up parental rights is not an option if the only reason to terminate those rights is to get out of paying child support. 

Custody and parental rights can be terminated to allow a child to be adopted, if one parent is unfit, or under other circumstances that would mean the child would be better off without that parent in their life. Parental rights can be terminated voluntarily or involuntarily depending on the circumstances. 

Custody Depends on Your Ability to Provide a Safe and Stable Home

When the courts consider a custody arrangement for children, the primary concern is always going to be the well-being of the child or children involved. As such, in order to maintain 50/50 custody or get primary custody, you will need to prove that you are able to provide a safe and stable home for the child or children. 

This means that you have a home that is child-friendly, that has all of the things a child needs to survive and thrive (for example, a high chair, changing table, crib, and supplies for a baby). You also have to show a dedication to parenting your child, providing structure, and encouraging them with their education, among other things. 

To gain full custody or primary custody, the other parent would need to be found lacking in these same areas. If you can both provide equally safe and stable homes, shared custody will likely be the end result. 

Knowing these facts about child custody, you can better prepare for the process of deciding custody of your child. Contact legal help, like Kenneth J. Molnar, for more information.