Understanding Child Custody: Essential FAQs

Explore common inquiries concerning the allocation of child custody, providing clarity on how courts determine parenting arrangements.

Is Custody Solely Awarded to One Parent?

Custody isn’t exclusively granted to a single parent in most instances. The justice system often endorses “joint custody,” allowing for shared parenting in one of three main forms:

  • Shared physical custody: This allows children to spend a significant portion of time with each parent.
  • Shared legal custody: Parents collaborate on making critical decisions regarding the child’s health care, education, and religious upbringing.
  • A combination of both shared legal and physical custody.

Joint legal custody is a favored arrangement by courts across all states. Yet, when it comes to shared physical custody, approximately half of the states exhibit hesitance unless parents mutually consent to it and demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively and cooperate. In certain states like New Mexico and New Hampshire, mandatory joint custody orders are the norm except in cases where it conflicts with the children’s welfare or parental health/safety issues. Additionally, numerous states expressly permit the courts to mandate joint custody even if one parent disagrees with the arrangement.

Can Custody Be Granted to a Non-Parent?

In certain cases where neither parent is suitable for custody due to reasons such as substance dependency, mental health issues, absence, or incarceration, courts may entrust the custody of the children to an individual other than the parents. This could result in a court-ordered temporary guardianship or foster care agreement. Courts prioritize keeping children with relatives over placement with non-family members when feasible. If facing such circumstances and the prospect of foster care for your child is of concern, urgently reaching out to relatives willing to provide temporary custody is advisable.

For further guidance on custody matters or to discuss the specifics of your situation, please contact James H. Wilson Law Firm at 804.740.6464. Our experienced family law attorneys are ready to provide personalized legal support and work towards the best outcome for you and your children.

Contact Us

  1. 1 Free Consultation
  2. 2 Reasonable Fees
  3. 3 Real Solutions to Real Problems

Fill out the contact form or call us at 804.740.6464 to schedule your free consultation.

Leave Us a Message