Jeremy: The responsibility to take care of the children is called custodyHaving the responsibility to make all the decisions for a child, including where they live. When your parents live together, both of them have to take care of you. They both have custody of you. But when your parents separate, this might change.
After your parents separate, you might live with just one parent. This is called sole custodyWhen two people stop living together. It means that just one parent will take care of you every day. Just one parent has custody.
And this one parent is responsible for making all important decisions about your care and upbringing. For example, decisions about your religion, education, and health.
If one parent has custody, the other parent usually has accessThe time kids spend with the parent they don’t live with. That parent may also get information on the kid’s health, education, and religion.. This means that you get to visit the other parent. And the other parent can be given information about your health, education, and welfare.
There are lots of different ways you can spend time with that parent.
After your parents separate, you might live with both parents in two different homes. This is called joint custodyWhen both parents help to make decisions about their kids’ lives. Usually, the kids live with both parents. Both parents take care of you and both parents help make decisions about things in your life. They both have custody of you.
When your parents separate, they might be able to agree on who has custodySomeone who makes all of the decisions for a child, including where they live and how the other parent can have accessThe time kids spend with the parent they don’t live with. That parent may also get information on the kid’s health, education, and religion. to you. If your parents can agree, they can write this down in a separation agreement or parenting plan.
But if they can’t agree, even with the help of a mediatorA person who does mediation, and helps people agree about things, they have to go to courtA place where a judge makes decisions. The judgeA person who knows a lot about the law, makes decisions for people, and is in charge of a court will make decisions about parenting.
To make the decision, the judge will think about things like this:
This is called the “best interests of the child test”.