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The Law of Child Custody Sandra L. Schpoont, Esq..

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Presentation on theme: "The Law of Child Custody Sandra L. Schpoont, Esq.."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Law of Child Custody Sandra L. Schpoont, Esq.

2  Best Interests of the Child-“In all cases there shall be no prima facie right to the custody of the child in either parent, but the court shall determine solely what is for the best interest of the child, and what will best promote its welfare and happiness, and make an award accordingly.”  Joint Legal Custody- Joint custody gives both parents equal decision making authority. The parents have to consult and agree on all major decisions involving the child, which typically includes matters such as medical, religion, school and extracurricular activities.

3  Parent Coordinator- Parenting coordinators are a child-focused method of alternative dispute resolution used in high conflict child custody cases.  Sole Legal Custody- Sole legal custody gives one parent the sole decision making authority on these matters.  Spheres of Influence- Sometimes judges assign each parent a so-called “sphere” so that each parent will have the final decision in a particular major area.

4  Residential or Physical Custody- The other type of custody is residential or physical custody, which is where the children live.  2 Court of Appeals cases- The two Court of Appeals cases that set the precedent for custody determinations are Friederwitzer v Friederwitzer and Eschbach v Eschbach

5  Factors considered by courts in determining best interests of the child- 1. Which parent has been the main care giver/nurturer of the child 2. The parenting skills of each parent, their strengths and weaknesses and their ability to provide for the child's special needs, if any 3. The mental and physical health of the parents

6 4. Whether there has been domestic violence in the family 5. Whether either parent has an alcohol or drug problem or if there has been any findings of neglect or abuse against a parent 6. Work schedules and child care plans of each parent

7 7. Custody Agreements 8. Forensic Evaluation 9. The child's relationships with brothers, sisters, and members of the rest of the family 10. The child’s preferences

8 Attorney for the Child- they advocate not what they believe to be the best interests of the child, but what their client wants. Parental Alienation- where a child freely and persistently expresses unreasonable negative feelings toward one parent that are drastically different than the child’s actual experience with the parent.

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