Custody and Parenting Arrangements

Mother playing with baby.

Parents have certain responsibilities and obligations to the children for whom they provide care. Parents who are unmarried or divorced and who care for a child are said to have "custody" of a child. However, in more recent times, the term "custody" (which implies that children are merely possessions) has been quickly losing ground to the term "parenting time," which is less adversarial and a friendlier term.

In the Friend of the Court program, any party (custodial, non-custodial or third party) who applies for custody/parenting time will be given equal consideration based on guidelines for the best interests of the child.

It is in the child's best interest to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. Shared custody/parenting provides protection and well-being for most children. In families experiencing domestic violence issues, however, a judge may determine that shared custody/parenting is not in the best interests of the child.  



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