Types of Custody
There are two major types of custody. Legal Custody and Physical Custody. Legal custody is the right to make major decisions which includes medical, educational and religious decisions on behalf of the subject child. The types of legal custody are sole legal custody or shared legal custody. Physical custody looks at who physically has the child. The types of physical custody are sole physical custody, primary physical custody, partial physical custody, and supervised physical custody.
In deciding custody, the best interest of the child is the most important matter that must be determined. If an agreement is not reached by the parties, courts will analyze sixteen factors to determine what is in the child’s best interest.
If a party is exercising primary custody, they may file a claim for child support. A calculation will be utilized to determine what the award of child support will be. If the obligor has the child for forty percent or more of the time, he/she could receive a reduction. If a party has equally shared physical custody and one party makes more money than the other, the lower earning party may make a claim for child support; however, the award of support due and owing by the obligor, in an equally shared arrangement, will be reduced from what a primary custodian would receive.
Third parties who stand in loco parentis may file for custody of a child. Grandparents of a child who are not in loco parentis may also have standing if certain criteria are met by the grandparent. Further additional individuals may meet certain criteria to file for custody. There is a presumption, however, that the biological parent should be the primary custodian unless clear and convincing evidence is presented to the contrary.
Yes, a grandparent or great-grandparent may file a claim for partial custody if they can establish standing. Standing can be established if they are the parent of the child’s deceased parent, or they have a relationship with the grandchild based on consent of the parent or court order, a custody action has been initiated and the parents cannot agree as to whether or not a grandparent can have custody or the child has resided with the grandparent for twelve months and was removed by their parent. This would only apply if the action was commenced within six months of the removal of the child.