Child custody cases generally fall under the jurisdiction of a family court, often in connection with a divorce hearing. The laws differ among states, most are based on the Federal Uniform Child Custody Act.
|Interstate custody disputes
Interstate child custody disputes are generally settled under the terms of the Uniform Interstate Child Custody Jurisdiction Act. This is a set of rules which helps courts decide whether a child has had enough contact with a particular state to allow that state's laws to be applied in a specific custody dispute.
Legal custody of a child is a parent's right and obligation to make decisions about a child's upbringing. When a parent has sole legal custody, he or she makes all decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of the child.
|Modification of custody orders
No child custody arrangement is ever permanent. Changes or modifications can be made if the situation has noticeably changed for the parent or child since the original agreement.
Parental kidnapping, in which a child who has been ordered into the custody of one parent is removed by the other parent to another area or state jurisdiction, is prohibited by federal law, and is also a crime in most states.
|Physical and legal custody
Legal custody of a minor child generally means the right and responsibility to decide major issues of health, education, and welfare affecting the child.
Shared or joint child custody occurs when both parents equally share the legal and physical custody of the child. When parents share legal custody of a child, they make important decisions together concerning the child.
|What is joint custody?
Many state's laws on child custody provide that joint custody is in the best interest of a minor child. Joint custody generally means that the right and responsibility to decide major issues of health, education, and welfare affecting a child are shared by the parents.