Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Child custody and guardianship are the legal terms used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and child, including e.g. the right of the parent to make decisions for the child and the duty to care for it; it comes into question in proceedings involving dissolution of marriage, annulment and other legal proceedings where the residence and care of children are concerned. In most jurisdictions child custody is determined by the best interests of the child standard.
In many proceedings to dissolve a marriage, issues relating to child custody generate the most acrimonious disputes. It is not uncommon for one parent to accuse the other of trying to turn the child(ren) against him or her, or of disrupting the parent's communication with the child(ren). In extreme cases, parents have taken children out of the jurisdiction, in violation of court orders, so as to frustrate the other parent's custody or visitation rights.
Legal issues relative to child custody rights
New York State
Where there are children of the marriage residing in New York State and under the age of 18, a demand for custody is mandatory in divorce actions. Where the children reside outside New York State custody may not be determined, except in some instances by stipulation. Custody may not be awarded to a person other than the father or mother, except under unusual circumstances which require a hearing. Children under the age of 21 must be supported by both parents to the extent that they are able to support the children under the provisions of the Child Support Standards Act.
See paternity for discussion of judicial recognition of filiation which may be necessary before custody or support may be determined.
Recognition throughout Europe of child custody orders is provided for by Council Regulation 1347/2000.
In Scotland, issues relative to parental reponsibilities are dealt with under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, which provides for the making of 'residence' (custody) and 'contact' (access) orders. These may be applied for by anyone with an interest in a child, not merely parents ( reference). The test in all cases is, under the statute, the best interest of the child.
England and Wales
International jurisdictional issues and child abduction
The Hague Convention
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is in force between many states.
15% of men are awarded custody, unchanged since 1994 (cf. p.1). U.S. Census Bureau
While 40% of children whose fathers live outside the home have no contact with their children, the other 60% had contact an average of 69 days in the last year. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Divorced children raised by mother score lower on average than children with continuously married parents on measures of academic success, conduct, psychological adjustment, social competence, and long-term health outcomes. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
40% of the time children were maltreated by mother vs. 18% by father U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Administration for Children and Families
Men are much more likely than women to believe that two parents are more effective at raising children than one parent alone U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
87% of mothers and 73% of fathers reported that they hugged their children or showed them physical affection at least once a day. Similarly high percentages reported telling their children daily that they love them (cf Parenting). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Hague Convention
- LII - US legal sources on Child Custody
- Shared Parenting Works
- Common Sense Divorce and Custody Information - Free information about divorce.
-  A German site, but in English, on child abduction
- The American Coalition for Fathers and Children (ACFC) -- Largest member supported shared parenting organization in the USA
- Child Custody Information -- Large archive of custody-related articles and information
- ACFC President -- Insightful articles on relationship between family court and custody based on research.
- DADS in FAMILY COURT (US Case Law)
- Families Need Fathers The UK situation is not dissimilar to that in the US.
- www.ParentingTime.net Example of a custody tracking tool
- "Me and My Sons" - one divorced father's account
- "Dad's House"Forum for Fathers separated from their Children (Ireland)
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