In a divorce proceeding that involves minor children, conflicts over child custody and child support are more common than many individuals realize. The court will make determinations of custody and support that are in the best interest of the child. At times, the court will also consider the child’s wishes depending on his or her age and maturity level.
Gassman Baiamonte Gruner, P.C. has extensive experience in a wide range of issues related to child custody and support.
What is child custody in a divorce?
In a divorce, there are two types of custody: physical and legal custody.
- Physical Custody. This means deciding which parent the child will live with, and the court may decide on either sole or joint custody. Custody determinations depend upon factors like how much time the child spends with each parent and how close the parents live to each other.
- Legal Custody. In most cases, both parents have the right and the duty to make critical decisions about how to raise the child and each will play a role in the child’s education, medical treatment, financial well-being and general welfare.
What are visitation rights?
If the court decides on sole physical custody, then the parent without physical custody will be granted reasonable visitation rights. The parents are usually allowed to plan visitation time, but they must cooperate and work around their schedules. If the parents fail to reach an agreement, the court will decide on a fixed visitation schedule. Grandparents and other individuals who were part of the child's life during the marriage may also be entitled to visitation rights.
What is joint custody?
Courts typically prefer to award joint custody to both parents which requires them to work out a schedule to share the child’s time. Most divorcing couples usually agree to simple arrangements of alternating weeks or months, or the child spending weekdays with one parent and weekends with the other parent. However, if they cannot agree, the court will determine a schedule.
The court considers a number of factors in determining child support including:
- The child’s standard of living while the parents were together
- The income of the parent with whom the child primarily lives
- Each parent's income
- Whether one parent is paying alimony to the other
- The health, medical, and educational expenses of the child.
Child support will continue until the child becomes an adult, goes on military duty, becomes self-supporting, or is adopted by a new parent. In some cases, children who have special needs may need to keep receiving child support after they reach adulthood. An order for child support only becomes effective from the date that it was requested.
Why you need an attorney to resolve child custody and support issues
Child custody and support issue unfortunately become contentious in some divorces. The matrimonial attorneys at Gassman Baiamonte Gruner, P.C. will work with you to protect your rights and help you to arrive at an agreement that is in the best interest of your child. We also have expertise in enforcement and modification proceedings and will pursue these matters in court depending on the circumstances. If you are going through a divorce, and need help resolving child custody and support issues, call our office today.