Child Divorce Laws

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Child Divorce Laws regarding Primary Caretaker

In the recent past, the "primary caretaker" factor in child custody cases has gained importance. The reason is that psychologists have emphasized the significance of the bond between the primary caretaker and the child. It has been accepted that if the continuance of the child-primary caretaker relation after the divorce is granted, then it is beneficial to the psychological stability of the child.

The court decides who would be the primary caretaker by assessing the involvement in responsibilities like those mentioned below.

  • Teaching of mathematics, writing and reading skills
  • Encouragement in participation in extra-curricular activities
  • Health care arrangements
  • Laundry responsibilities and purchasing clothes
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Dressing, grooming and bathing

While analyzing the suitability of a parent for the role of a primary caretaker, the volunteerism in a child's school and exposure to second-hand smoke are also considered.

Child Divorce Laws regarding Custody decisions

The best interests of the child are kept in mind while finalizing which parent should be awarded custody. The standards set for the "best interests" of the child change from one state to another. Some of the common factors are mentioned below.

  • Proof of sex abuse, alcohol and parental drug
  • Presence of emotional abuse or excessive discipline
  • Sex and age of child
  • Adjustment in community and school
  • Interrelationship and interaction along with other persons in the household
  • Chance to interact with members of extended family of either parent and support towards the child by these members
  • The requirement for continuance of stable home environment
  • Cultural and / or religion considerations
  • Physical and mental health of the parents
  • If the child is sufficiently old to make a preference, then the wishes of the child are taken into account

Types of Custody as per the law

Physical Custody

This type of custody decides that with which parent the child would live for a major part of the time.

Legal Custody

This type of custody comprises of the right to make decisions regarding the religion, health care, education and other significant issues regarding the child.

Joint Custody

The child resides with each parent separately for an approximately equal duration of time. For this type of custody to be successful, it is essential that the parents share a high degree of cooperation. It has been observed that the courts are not willing to award this type of custody unless it is seen that both parents are in agreement and can make joint decisions for the sake of the child.

Split Custody

This is not a very popular option. One or more children of the divorcing partners reside with one parent while the other children live with the other parent.

Unmarried Parents

As per the laws in most of the states, the mother is awarded sole physical custody, when the parents of the child are unmarried. The father has to take some steps to be awarded custody. Such a father is given priority over the prospective adoptive parents, foster parents or other relatives of the child.

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