CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION
Child Custody — Protecting Relationships With Children
When parents agree on the custody of the minor child or children following separation, the parties’ agreement should be reduced to writing to protect all parties in the future. Most of the time, this process can be done through the preparation of a parenting agreement, which can be a stand alone agreement. If the parents are married to one another, custody can be part of the process in a separation agreement between the parents.
When the parents are unable to agree and wish to take the matter to court, the court will first determine whether either or both parents are fit and proper parties to have custody. If the court determines that both parents are fit and proper, the court will consider many factors when awarding custody of a child or children.
When awarding physical and legal custody, some of the aspects that the court uses may include any of the following: age of child, child’s health, mental and physical maturity, relationship with siblings, and the physical living conditions of the child, along with other factors.
The courts may also look at each parent and many factors with their method of parenting, along with the willingness of parents to work together for the best interests of the child or children.
Ferguson Law Firm also helps parents seeking to modify or enforce child support and visitation issues related to parental relocations and disputes.
Fostering Relationships Between All Parties
Once primary custody is awarded to one of the parents, then the court will usually award secondary custody or visitation to the other parent, provided the court has previously determined that the other parent is fit and proper. Visitation is not dependent on the payment of child support by the parent who has secondary custody or visitation privileges. Visitation, once considered only the right of the parent, is now viewed as the right of both the parent and the child. To that end, the court will work to foster a relationship between a child and both parents. But when the court determines that it is in the child’s best interest, the court will restrict, supervise or deny visitation, if circumstances warrant. In all cases, the court tries to defer these decisions to parents. Ferguson Law Firm will work with you to determine a fair approach to handle a visitation dispute.
Grandparents or other third parties may be granted visitation by the court in the court’s discretion in certain situations.
Know your rights when you are faced with a child custody or visitation issue. Ferguson Law Firm helps you understand those rights and your options during this difficult time. Call 704-867-2828 to schedule a consultation regarding your family law matter.