Child Custody actions are the hardest decisions a Chancellor will have to make in the Chancery Court room.
There are several forms of custody in Mississippi.
1. Joint physical and legal custody to both parents.
2. Joint physical with one parent having paramount legal custody.
3. Joint legal with one parent having paramount physical custody.
4. Physical and legal custody to one parent only
5. Physical and legal custody to a third party such as a grandparent.
Physical Custody basically means those time periods where a child resides with and is under the care and supervision of one of the parents.
Legal Custody means that parent has the decision making rights for the child on all major issues relating to the health, education and welfare of the child.
Joint Physical Custody means that each of the parents have significant time of physical custody of the minor child.
Joint Legal Custody means that each of the parents share in the important decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of the child.
When a Chancellor or Judge must make a decision concerning which parent will have primary custody of the child, the main consideration is what is in the best interest of the minor child. There are numerous reported decisions on what constitutes the best interest of the child and the Chancellor will consider a number of factors such as:
1. Age of the child
2. Health and sex of the child
3. Who was the main caregiver of the child before the parents separated
4. Who has the best parenting skills
5. Who has the capacity to provide for the needs of the child
6. The employment responsibilities of the parents
7. The moral fitness of each parent
8. The home, school and community record of the child
9. The child’s preference as to which parent they want to live with
10. The stability of the home environment and employment of each parent
11. Other important and relevant factors.
The overall polestar consideration is what is best for the child. Sometimes in custody proceedings, a Guardian ad Litem will be appointed by the Court to be the child’s attorney and report to the judge what is best for the child.
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