Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce proceeding, or in any family law matter in which child custody and visitation are being decided. At the law office of Derek L. Hall, PC, we are committed to assisting Jackson, MS residents with any and all issues surrounding child custody and visitation. It is important to get started on your case as early as possible to gather evidence that helps to prove to the court that your having a custodial role in your son’s or daughter’s life is in the best interests of the child.
How does the court make decisions about child custody? And what can you do to give yourself the best chance of being awarded custody and/or visitation? An experienced Jackson child custody attorney can assist you.
Child Custody and Visitation Factors in Mississippi
In our state, Section 93-5-24 of the Mississippi Code directs child custody matters. The law makes clear that, in awarding child custody and making decisions about custody issues, the court will focus on the best interests of the child. There are many different factors that the court can consider when it determines what is in the best interests of the child concerning both custody and visitation cases, including but not limited to:
- Desire of each parent to provide care for the child;
- Ability of each parent to provide care for the child;
- Existing emotional connection between the parent(s) and the child;
- Home environment that can be provided by the parent(s);
- Each parent’s employment situation;
- Each parent’s moral fitness and
- Other issues that could influence the child’s best interests.
Generally speaking, the court wants to ensure that the child is not placed in an emotionally or psychologically tumultuous situation. As such, if there is already an informal child custody or visitation schedule in place between the parents, the court may choose to award custody and visitation based on the child’s comfort level. Courts also tend to prefer keeping siblings together, and to take steps that encourage co-parenting. In other words, if one of the parents routinely interferes with the other parent’s ability to have a strong relationship with the child, the court may look unfavorably upon such actions.
It is important to note that the statute makes clear there is no presumption in favor of maternal custody. To put that another way, fathers have just as much of a stake in child custody and visitation—and in being awarded child custody and visitation—as the mother. A Jackson child custody attorney can speak with you more about parents’ rights in child custody cases.
Different Types of Child Custody
There are two different kinds of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the parent’s ability to make major decisions about the child’s life and well-being, but may not necessarily involve spending a substantial amount of time with the child. Physical custody, differently, refers to the amount of time that the child actually spends with each parent. In general, the court usually will follow one of the following situations in issuing a custody order:
- Joint legal and physical custody;
- Joint legal custody and sole physical custody to one parent (with visitation to the noncustodial parent);
- Sole legal custody and joint physical custody; and
- Sole legal custody and sole physical custody (in some cases, with visitation to the noncustodial parent).
In situations where the court awards both sole legal and sole physical custody to one parent, there may be—although certainly not always—additional issues, such as domestic violence or a criminal record, that the court took into consideration. In these situations, the court may or may not award visitation to the noncustodial parent depending upon the specific facts of the case and the best interests of the child.
Contact a Jackson Child Custody Attorney
You should not have to go through a child custody case on your own. An experienced Jackson child custody attorney can assist you. Contact law office of Derek L. Hall, PC today. If you want it all, you ought to call Hall.