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by: Jinky C. Mesias
One of the saddest and ugliest parts of divorce is the fight for child custody. Children are torn between parents. They experience mental and emotional stressed. They feel confused on which parent they are to go and live with. Before we go all mushy let us first define what child custody is. Child custody refers to the package of rights as well as responsibilities that a parent holds with respect to his or her child. Child custody covers a wide spectrum of concepts. The basic essence of child custody is to find the best interest of the child and not the individual interest of the parents. In some states they follow a general rule and that is for parents to have a continuing and frequent contact with the child.

There are different types of child custody and these are as follows: a) legal custody, wherein a parent with legal custody is allowed to make certain decisions regarding the health, welfare and education of his or her child, b) physical custody, is a legal fight for the actual or physical right to be with the child, c) sole legal custody, involves the awarding of sole legal custody to one parent thus giving the sole legal parent the right to decide on the childís health, education and welfare, d) sole physical custody, is when one parent is awarded the sole physical custody of a child meaning the child will live or remain with him or her and the other parent is not given any right from having physical custody of the child especially when the other parent has been found out to abused and neglect the child, e) join legal custody, wherein both parents are given the right to participate in decision making regarding the health, education and welfare of their child, f) joint physical custody, is where both parents have the right to be with the child and also allows both parents to conduct a parenting plan in order to settle on the schedule of taking care of their child, and the last one is g) shared custody, is wherein both the parents have equal share when it comes to the legal as well as the physical custody of the child.

As you may have notice all the different types of custody involves custody and visitation. The factors as well as the circumstances taken in consideration by the court in determining whether a parent can have custody and visitation rights are basically the same. The child visitation refers to the time given to a non-custodial parent to be with the child. On the other hand, the custodial parentís rights to be with the child are subject to the non-custodial parentís right to visit the child.

Together with child custody is parenting plan. This plan refers to the agreement between the parents as well as the court order in which provisions for custody and visitation rights are defined. The parenting plan also determines whether each parent or both have the capacity to make decisions with regards to the health, education and welfare of their child. The plan also includes schedules in which the non-custodial parent can spend time with the child.

About the author:
Jinky C. Mesias is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Business Administration Major in Business Management. She is at present an Associate Manager of a Life Insurance Corporation and a freelance writer.

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