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How Does Child Custody Work?

Child custody is a serious legal matter. The decision to be the custodial parent cannot be made on your own without any consequences – you need legal help. There are different types of child custody arrangements, so it’s important you know what those are before deciding on one for your situation.

What is Child Custody?

Child custody is the term used to describe the legal relationship between a child and their parents. It is a legal right that affects the daily lives of children and their parents, but it’s important to remember that child custody is not a matter of emotions. It’s a matter of law – the court decides who has physical custody of the children after a divorce or separation.

A court considers a number of factors when determining what is best for a child. You’ll need to provide evidence showing why you’re fit as a parent and why they should be with you instead of a former partner.

The Focus is on the Best Interests of the Child

The primary concern of the court is always the best interests of the child. This can include everything from their physical safety to their emotional well-being, and even how much time they spend with each parent. In some cases, it may mean adapting custody arrangements based on specific circumstances such as medical issues or school schedules.

The Decision Can be Changed Over Time Based on New Circumstances

The court can change the order at any time if there is a significant change in circumstances. The court will consider the best interests of your child and their adjustment to their home environment before making a decision. 

They may also consider other significant factors such as:

  • How long you’ve had custody, and whether or not they have been with only one parent for a while.
  • Whether or not you have been able to maintain a good relationship with your ex-partner despite being separated.
  • If there are new circumstances that are affecting the child’s life.

Are the Mother and Father Treated Equally in the Eyes of the Court

The court will not favor one parent over another. As in all custody cases, it’s important to remember that the courts always consider what’s best for a child before anything else. The law does not require that you give up rights as a parent based on gender or marital status.

In this case, it is also important to note that divorce has nothing to do with child custody rights—the decision of who gets custody of their children is made by looking at the specific details of each individual case. 

What Are the Different Types of Child Custody Arrangements?

The different types of child custody arrangements are:

  • Sole custody. In this arrangement, one parent controls almost all aspects of their children’s lives. All major decisions must be approved by that parent and he or she may have to consult with the other parent on some issues. The noncustodial parent’s access to his or her children is usually limited. This tends to happen in cases where the divorce or separation was due to violence or crime by one partner.
  • Joint custody. This is an arrangement in which both parents share physical and legal custody of their child(ren), meaning they both make decisions about issues like education and healthcare together. Parents who have joint physical custody typically live close to each other so they can share responsibilities for their kids every day, like picking them up from school, helping them with homework, etc.

Can a Child Choose Which Parent has Custody?

If a child is old enough, they will be asked to state his or her preference. The judge will then consider that preference along with the other factors described above.

If the judge believes it is necessary to ask your child about their wishes, they may do so in front of you and their other parent but only if they believe it would be helpful and not hurtful to the child. They should speak with a counselor if they are unsure whether they should question him or her further on this matter. After speaking with the counselor, if they still feel questioning might cause harm, no questions will be asked!


Every custody case is unique, and there is no perfect answer to every question. When making decisions, remember that it’s crucial to keep in mind that children are often the most impacted, so they must be given priority.