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Home > Law & Legal Topics > Child Custody

» Child Custody:
Child custody law is the branch of law for the care or control exercised by a person or authority over a child. Child custody law can be thought of in terms of child support and child visitation.

Absent exceptional circumstances, the non-custodial parent is entitled to visit his children. Child visitation rights are usually spelled out in the parent's separation agreement or in a court order.

If visitation is provided for in the agreement or court order, the custodial parent has an affirmative duty to encourage and nurture the relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent. Indeed, the custodial parent may be held civilly liable for interfering with the possessory interest the non-custodial parent has in a child. In addition to the parent, other family members, such as grandparents, may be able to obtain visitation rights.

Child visitation is closely related to child support. Child support is a payment made for the support of the children of divorced or separated parents. Child support is usually paid while the children are minors or until they reach an age set by the separation agreement or in a court order. Child support is usually paid by the parent who is without custody of the child. In the case of joint custody, both parents usually pay child support.

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