Child custody is the right and duty to care for a child on a day-to-day basis and to make major decisions about the child.
In sole custody arrangements, one parent takes care of the child most of the time and makes major decisions about the child. That parent usually is called the custodial parent. The other parent generally is referred to as the noncustodial parent. The noncustodial parent almost always has a right of visitation a right to be with the child, including for overnight visits and vacation periods.
In joint custody arrangements, both parents share in making major decisions, and both parents also might spend substantial amounts of time with the child.
As with financial issues in a divorce, most husbands and wives have reached an agreement on custody before they go to court. Fewer than 5 percent of parents have custody of their child decided by a judge.
When parents cannot agree on custody of their child, the court decides custody according to the best interest of the child. Determining the best interest of the child involves consideration of many factors. Those factors, along with more information about visitation and by a judge.
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