There are two types of custody for children in family proceedings. Legal Custody and Physical Custody. Legal custody deals with legal issues with the minor child, such as health and education. Physical custody, on the other hand, deals with the primary residence of the child.
The most important factor the courts look at in determining which parent will have custody of the children is the children’s best interest. In determining the best interest of the children, the courts look at the following:
(1) the health, safety, and welfare of the child;
(2) any history of abuse by one parent or any other person seeking custody against any of the following:
- (a) any child to whom he or she is related by blood or affinity or with whom he or she has had a caretaking relationship, no matter how temporary;
- (c) a parent, current spouse, or cohabitant, of the parent or person seeking custody, or a person with whom the parent or person seeking custody has a dating or engagement relationship.
(3) the nature and amount of contact with both parents; and
(4) the habitual or continual illegal use of controlled substances or habitual or continual abuse of alcohol by either parent.
Every custody or visitation order shall contain all of the following:
(1) the basis for the court’s exercise of jurisdiction;
(2) the manner in which notice and opportunity to be heard were given;
(3) a clear description of the custody and visitation rights of each party;
(4) a provision stating that a violation of the order may subject the party in violation to civil or criminal penalties, or both;
(5) identification of the country of habitual residence of the child or children.