15 Child Custody Questions and Answers | Must-Know Info

If you're a parent involved in a child custody case, you'll have a variety of questions. Luckily, most of them have straightforward answers.

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1. Is there a family court bias against fathers?

No. Family courts are not allowed to discriminate against parents based on gender. Individual judges may have their own biases, but every custody decision must serve the child's best interest. A father could get full custody if the circumstances call for it.

2. Can I have visitation if I don't pay child support?

Yes. Child support orders and custody orders are separate. A parent cannot withhold the child from you for not paying child support, and you cannot stop paying child support just because the other parent won't allow visits.

Child support and access to the other parent (when it's safe) are both rights of the child. Parents only punish their children when they get in the way of either.

3. How can I get custody of a child in another state?

You'll have to petition for custody in the state where the child lives (if they have lived there for the past six months). This is because most states follow the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

4. How can I prove the other parent unfit?

To prove a parent is unfit, you'll need evidence that shows they endanger your child's well-being. Photos, videos, reports from professionals (e.g., custody evaluators) and testimony from others who know of the parent's misbehavior could all help your cause.

5. How do I fight false accusations in family court?

The parent who levied the accusations ultimately has the burden of proving they're true. You or your lawyer can find out what evidence the other parent has against you. From there, you can build your defense with proof showing the accusations are untrue. If the court agrees with you, the parent could be charged with contempt of court.

6. Can I lose custody for drug use?

Yes. Being under the influence of drugs could impact your ability to parent. Illicit drug use could be the basis for the termination of parental rights.

A parent who is in treatment for drug addiction has a chance to get some custodial rights, usually supervised visitation. The court could lift these restrictions if their condition improves.

7. Can my ex stop my partner from seeing my child?

Yes — if they get a court order saying your new partner cannot see your child. Until then, they can't control whom you bring around your child, unless they need to take emergency actions to protect the child's well-being.

8. How long do custody cases take?

The length of a custody case varies. Divorce cases can last a couple of months — or well over a year if parents can't agree on anything. Standalone custody cases can resolve within a month but usually take several months. In any case, negotiating a settlement is the quickest path to resolution.

9. What are my parental rights?

When there's no custody order, married parents have joint custody of their children. Mothers who aren't married when they give birth have sole physical custody of the child, and the father only gets parental rights after legally establishing paternity.

Once you get a custody order, you'll have whichever rights the order gives you.

10. Will police enforce child custody?

Sometimes. Police will enforce child custody orders if there's an emergency like suspected parental kidnapping. For denied visitation, you should ask the court to enforce the order.

11. Do I need a lawyer for child custody?

No. Many family courts have in-person and online help for parents who opt to represent themselves in court. Yet lawyers are always recommended, especially for cases with complicated issues (e.g., divorce cases where parents own multiple properties).

12. Do I have a right to know where my child is during visits?

No — unless your parenting plan specifically gives you the right to know where your child is during visits. Otherwise, neither parent has to tell where they are when they have the kid so long as they stay within the state or other distance limit placed by the court.

13. Can my child choose whom they want to live with?

No. In some states, the court must consider the child's preference when making a custody decision, but the judge doesn't have to go with what the child says if they don't think it's in the child's best interest.

14. What is birdnesting?

Birdnesting is when the children stay in the family home and parents take turns living there. This arrangement is meant to limit the number of changes the children have to go through post divorce.

15. Are child custody laws the same everywhere?

No. Each state has its own child custody laws (also called family code).

What's the easiest way to handle child custody?

A co-parenting app like Custody X Change is a vital tool to help you throughout your custody case and beyond.

Custody X Change has all the tools to make handling child custody a breeze.

Custody X Change is software that helps you create a custody agreement and calendar quickly.

Make My Agreement Now

Custody X Change is software that helps you create a custody agreement and calendar quickly.

Make My Agreement

Custody X Change is software that helps you create a custody agreement and calendar quickly.

Make My Agreement Now

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