Child Custody

What is custody? 

Custody is the right to look after and care a person and same is applied in case of custody of child meaning. Child custody means you have the legal right to make big decisions about how to care for and raise your child. It is not important with whom your child lives or for how much time. or you have sole physical custody or not. It includes the care, control, and maintenance of a child, which a court may award to one of the parents following a divorce or separation proceeding. Child custody and guardianship is the terminology used to describe the legal relationship between a parent and his/her child, such as the right of the parent to make decisions for the child, and parent’s duty to care for the child. The child custody case can be one of the most controversial topics of family law dispute.

Most child custody disputes begin with divorce. Parents look at divorce as a way out, hoping for relief from a loveless or abusive relationship. As these parents make the choices to divorce they don’t think about the other problems that the divorce can cause not only to them, but to the children as well. These effects have become a major issue of concern in recent years. When people think of divorce, they think of the changes made to their legal status and last name; along with this change, division of property, support of children, and child custody concerns come about. The issue of divorce raised the topic of child custody.

Child custody is a difficult and sensitive matter. During the disputes people go through multiple interviews, background checks, and other privacy invading matters. Child custody evaluations are need when parents are divorcing. This is all done in order to obtain custody of one or more children. The children do not have to be the parents biological children in order to be able to fight for custody of the child. In the evaluations multiple factors are taken into consideration. Through the entire process the most important aspect about the outcome of the evaluations, is that the child’s best interest is always the main factor. Child custody evaluations attempt to investigate and find the best situation for the child between the parties fighting over custody.
Child custody evaluations cover multiple issues such as custody, maintenance, support, valuation, visitation, relocation, and termination of parental rights. There are multiple forms of custody that can result from a child custody evaluation. First is physical custody which is defined as per how much time a child spends with each parent, if the parents share physical custody. Another form of custody is legal custody is, which gives a parent the authority to decide certain influential factors in the child’s life. Joint legal custody is also an option. Another form of custody is sole custody which is defined as “one parent has legal and physical custody while the other typically has agreed upon some rights to visit the child at regular intervals. Most custody decisions – about 90% – are made without resorting to litigation. Psychologist conduct multiple tests and processes on the parents and children in order to gain the most information possible to give the best recommendation that they can to the courts concerning the child. Laws have evolved overtime in order to best fit the current social standards. The child custody evaluation remains with one main goal throughout the entire process, which is to determine the best interests of the child and to place the child in the best situation available.

The types of child custody in India are as follows

Physical Custody – Physical custody when awarded to a parent, implies that the minor will be under the guardianship of that parent with periodical interaction and visitation with the other parent. The target behind such a custody award is to give a better life to the child in a safe and fulfilling environment and also makes sure that the child is not deprived of the affection of the other parent during his or her formative years.

Joint Custody – Joint Custody of a child does not implies that both the parents have to live together because of the child despite the fact that Indian courts believe that it is the best for the welfare of a minor. Joint custody actually means that both the parents will take care of the child turn by turn keeping the child in their custody. The rotation of the child among the parents may vary from certain days or a week or even for a month. These benefits the child as on one hand the child gets the attention of both the parents and on the other hand parents get to be a part of their children’s life.

Legal Custody – Legal custody of a child does not necessarily entails having the child with the parents or vice-versa. It basically means that the parents are granted the legal custody and they can take every decision for the child likewise education, medical treatment, etc. In most of the cases, legal custody is granted to both the parents together but in certain cases where the divorce is messy and parents do not agree with each other, then in such cases the court grants legal custody to any of the one parent.

How To Know The Type Of Custody Granted?

Till the time the order of the court does not specially mentions the conditions discussed above, the parent who is awarded the custody of the child gets the physical custody as well as legal custody. If there is any other kind of custody awarded, it will be mentioned in the order of the court and will be made clear to both the parties.

Who Can Claim Custody of a Child?

The custody of a child can be claimed either by mother or the father. In any of the case where the two of the parents are not in the picture due to operation of some other laws or deceased then in such situation, the maternal or the paternal grandparents or any other relatives can claim custody of the child strictly out of compassion towards the child. In many cases, the court appoints the third person as the guardian of the child.

In India, the custody of a child depends upon the personal laws and read with The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. The foremost thing is to allot the custody of a child to seek welfare and so if required the other personal law rules and rituals can be set aside. Preferences are given to the parents and the child but it is the court who takes the final decision regarding the custody of the child.

The child custody laws in India are evolving and now all of them have adopted the uniform practice of keeping the child’s best interest in mind. Further, the recommendations of the Law Commission and the new petitions are thriving for equality among the father and mother in the custody rights. These rights are gaining prominence in the present era and the courts have adopted a tendency of equating mother and father equally.

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