Divorce law usually varies from state to state in the USA. The laws existing in individual states govern divorce cases. Dissolution of marriage is actually a legal process in which a marriage is legally terminated. Divorce is not an issue in isolation and the divorce law requires resolution of several issues including distribution of property spousal support, division of debt and most importantly child custody and child support.
Usually Joint Guardianship
When dissolution of a marriage takes place child custody becomes a pivotal issue and the Court of Jurisdiction meant for divorce cases, is responsible for determining child custody arrangements. As per common statutes if a couple had children while they were married to each other both parents are accorded joint guardianship. Parental rights are pretty much equal and each parent is entitled to the child’s custody when they separate.
Different Types of Custody Involved
Court determines the type of custody that is best suited to the child in question. Temporary custody is all about granting child custody while the separation or divorce proceedings are on. Granting one parent with exclusive custodial rights is termed exclusive custody. In this case the parent who is deprived of all custodial rights, may be allowed supervision rights or sometimes supervised visitation rights.
When both parents are granted equal custodial rights it is termed joint custody. Third party custody is often granted to grandparents or any other relative who has sought custody of the child concerned. When multiple children are involved, the court is authorized to split the custody of the children between his parents.
Interest of the Child Gets Primary Importance
Keeping in mind what is best for the child concerned, the court decides which home the child should go to and live. The court ruling is after a considerable deliberation over issues such as the child’s wishes, the parents’ wishes and most importantly, the kind of relationship the child shares with each one of his parents or even siblings and any other person who has a significant role to play in the child’s upbringing and life in general.
Other factors that are given equal importance are physical and mental health of the child and his parents, the child’s comfort level at his home, community or school.
Stable Home Environment is a Must
The primary concern of the judge is to ensure that the child is well-provided for. The court decides custodial rights in favor of a parent who is able to offer a highly supportive and stable home environment for the child.
It is now mandatory across all states for parents to submit a precise parenting plan or to come to an understanding on issues relating to custody and visitation either in court or through a written agreement at the time of legal separation or divorce.
Visitation Rights Definitely a Major Issue
As per divorce law, the court has the authority to restrict visitation rights to non-custodial parent if the court is convinced that the non-custodial parent would prove to be harmful to the child. If the non-custodial parent has emotionally or physically abused the child, or is suffering from some sort of mental illness or has a prison record the visitation rights would not be granted.