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What is the order of preference for granting child custody?

Emotions can run high during a child custody dispute. In general, the parents will seek custody of the children, but others who claim to have the child's best interests in mind might also wish to be granted custody. The courts will focus on that previously mentioned phrase: the best interests of the child. Knowing the law regarding who can be granted custody is critical to a case.

The court will prefer to give joint custody to the parents or sole custody to one of the parents. When the order is made, the court will consider which parent has the greater likelihood of providing ongoing and frequent contact with the other parent. There can be no preference for one parent over the other based on gender. The court has the right to require the parents to provide the court with a plan to implement a custody order.

In some cases, neither parent is deemed suitable to care for the child. In these instances, another person can be categorized as suitable and may be granted custody. In today's climate, it is important to note that the immigration status of a parent, guardian or relative will not be a disqualifier for them to be granted custody. There is no preference on the part of the court to grant any form of custody. The court has wide discretion to serve the child's best interests in the parenting plan.

When a marriage ends and the parents are concerned about maintaining a relationship with their children, it is important to know how the courts address various circumstances. Having legal assistance throughout the process is also critical. A law firm that has helped many people with their child custody cases may be able to help.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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