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Types of Custody Arrangements in Mississippi
There are two types of custody arrangements in Mississippi: legal custody or physical custody. Legal custody pertains to a parent’s ability to make important decisions regarding their child, such as decisions regarding the child’s health, education, religion, and the like. Physical custody refers to a parent’s right to have their child reside with them or the right of a parent to have their child be under their care.
Joint vs Sole Custody
Within the scope of legal and physical custody, Mississippi courts will also decide between granting parents joint or sole custody of their children. When joint legal custody is awarded, then both parents will have equal decision-making responsibilities regarding their children. Parents will be expected to communicate with one another and make decisions together pertaining to their children’s welfare. When joint physical custody is granted, then both parents will share equal (or close to equal) time with their children. This ensures that the child will have frequent and continuing contact with both their parents. Joint legal and physical custody is the preferred custodial arrangement, as it is results in the least amount of stress and change for both parents and especially for the children.
However, there are times when Mississippi courts grant sole custody. A court may give one parent sole physical custody while still allowing both joint legal custody. The non-custodial parent will still be entitled to regular visits with their children. Courts may also award one parent with both sole legal custody and sole physical custody of their children. Yet, even when this happens, the non-custodial parent will still have visitation rights and will still be allowed access to information concerning their children, especially if the children are minors.
Factors Used to Determine Child Custody in Mississippi
When making custody decisions in Mississippi, courts will review several factors, including but not limited to the following:
- The relationship between parent and child
- The age of the child
- Whether the child has any health or special care needs
- The child’s gender
- Each parent’s financial situation
- The proximity of each parent’s home to the child’s school
- The stability of each parent’s living environment
- The child’s preference, if they are old enough or demonstrate a mature ability to choose
Obtain Legal Help for Your Mississippi Child Custody Claim
Trying to decide on custodial arrangements or disputing a current custody agreement are both very difficult processes and can take time. Retaining an attorney who has experience handling cases involving Mississippi child custody laws can not only help you understand your rights as a parent, but can help ensure that the best outcome for your case is achieved. Contact a Mississippi child custody lawyer today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case options.