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Child Custody Agreements

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When the custody of children is at stake in a divorce, the issuance of a divorce decree may be complicated and delayed. In some cases, the courtroom has become a battlefield for parents who are disputing the role of the custodial parent or disputing child custody. In such cases, judges today often order a child custody evaluation by experts in the field of child psychiatry, psychology, or mental health. The mental health experts typically evaluate the activities of each parent, the life at home, parenting skills, relationships with the child, the child’s feelings and preferences, and in many cases utilize psychological testing. The recommendations of the expert involved can be a basis for a custody agreement or can be rejected by the two parties, letting the judge have the final say.

What are the common child custody agreements? There are numerous types, and there is no one-size-fits-all child custody agreement that works for all families and children. The basic child custody agreements that can be reached following a divorce involve physical and legal custody.

First, child custody agreements can be reached regarding physical custody. Parents or judges have to determine with whom the child will live and which parent will be allowed to be with the child. A parent can be granted sole physical custody, where the other parent will have little to no contact with the child. Sole physical or full physical custody often takes place in cases of physical abuse or where there is a high degree of poor parenting skills by one parent, and in cases where it would be in the best interest of the child to have such an arrangement.

Legal custody typically has to do with decision-making rights. Legal custody generally gives parents decision-making rights concerning matters of their child’s health, education, and welfare. As with physical custody, a parent can also be denied the right to legal custody (and a role in making decisions) if the other parent obtains sole legal custody. Further, parents can be awarded joint legal custody or can agree to this arrangement. Absent a showing of detriment to the child, joint legal custody is often granted.

Common child custody agreements can be worked out in a parenting plan and can be ordered by the court or agreed to by the parents. These child custody agreements generally address legal custody issues such as the health, education, and welfare of the child and physical custody issues such as where the child will live and how often the child will have contact with each parent.

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Child Custody Coach supplies information, written materials, online materials, and coaching services to parents in the field of child custody, namely, divorce, child custody and visitation, divorce, child custody evaluations, parenting, and all child custody related issues. Custody Match is an online consumer and family law attorney matching service to help consumers find the right family law attorney, divorce lawyer, or child custody attorney in their area.

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