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CUSTODY & VISITATION

Child custody and visitation issues are governed by the "best interests of the child"  standard.  A Court must consider the "totality of the circumstances" to determine, in its discretion, the custody and visitation arrangement that is in the child's best interests. 

 

There are a myriad of factors that the Court relies on with no one factor being solely determinative. Those factors include:  Stability for the child(ren); Quality of the home environment; Each parent’s past performance; Each parent’s relative fitness; Ability to provide for the child(ren)’s intellectual and emotional development and overall well-being; Willingness to foster a relationship with the other parent; The effect the award of custody to one parent would have on the child(ren)’s relationship with the other parent; Age(s) of the child(ren); and the existence or relationship between siblings.​

 

The Court will also consider the child's wishes. A child's preference is a consideration but is not determinative of the outcome of custody or visitation.  In doing so, the Court will consider that the child's age, maturity, and whether he or she has been subject to influence by the parent(s).  ​​​​

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Physical  Custody

Physical custody describes where a child will reside.  The Court will take into consideration factors to decide whether to award primary physical custody to one parent or to award a shared and equal arrangement between the parties. 

 

Primary physical custody means that the child resides with one parent more than one-half of the time.  Shared and equal custody means that the child resides equally or 50/50 between the parents' households.   The Court may also decide what a specific parenting schedule will look like for the parents.    

Legal Custody

Legal custody is the decision-making authority over matters of importance regarding children, including health, education, and religion.  Generally, parents are awarded joint legal custody. 

 

However, there are circumstances which necessitate an award of sole legal custody to one parent, so that one parent alone may be awarded the decision-making authority.  For example, the existence and level of acrimony between the parents which results in an inability to effectively communicate may necessitate one parent having final decision-making power.

Retaining an experienced and knowledgeable attorney is critically important when it comes to your child(ren).  Whether reached by agreement or decided by a Judge after trial, the first order of custody and visitation will determine yours and your child(ren)'s future.  

Schedule a consultation with Falco & Morton, PLLC to protect your current and future relationship with your child(ren).

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Vickie Ronda

Jen Morton was the best! I highly recommend her if you are looking for an attorney who takes the time to explain and actually counsels her clients. In my opinion she makes a great attorney because she actually cares! As a trial attorney she is a shark and definitely a force to be reckoned with! I so appreciate everything she and her team did for me. Special shout-out to Alexis and Lindsay for all their help and professionalism.
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