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Your Essential Guide to Mississippi Child Custody Laws

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During a divorce, it’s important that parents fully understand Mississippi’s child custody laws. In this time, a parent will have to make decisions that will not only affect their child’s life but their own as well. Parents need to know what factors the judge looks at when she determines custody, the types of custody arrangements, and how custody can affect child support in order to plan for their case properly.

Mississippi’s child custody laws can be confusing. However, with the help of this guide from our family law team, parents going through a divorce can understand the essentials of the child custody process.

Factors That Affect Custody

Mississippi laws state that the custody arrangement must be in the best interest of the child. This means that custody will depend on what situation will be the most beneficial to the child.

While there are several factors that the judge may consider, the best interest of a child is paramount. Judges base these factors on the Albright v. Albright case, which include:

  • Age, health, and sex of the child
  • Determination of the parent that had the continuity of care prior to the separation
  • The parenting skills of each parent
  • The parent’s willingness and capacity to provide primary childcare
  • The employment of the parent and responsibilities of that employment
  • Physical and mental health and age of the parents
  • Emotional ties of the parent and child
  • The moral fitness of the parents
  • The home, school, and community record of the child
  • The preference of the child (12 years or older)
  • Stability of home environment and employment of each parent
  • Any other factors relevant to the parent-child relationship

Physical Vs. Legal Custody

There are two types of custody in Mississippi — physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody determines who the child will live with. Primarily, legal custody determines which parent has the legal right to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and other aspects of the child’s welfare like extracurricular activities or religious matters.

Under these types of custody, judges have the choice to award joint or sole custody to parents. Joint custody is sometimes considered since it allows the child to spend time and foster a good relationship with both of his parents. However, since joint custody is not always in the best interest of the child, the judge might choose another arrangement. Some common arrangements include:

  • Both parents have joint physical and legal custody
  • One parent has sole physical custody, but both parents have joint legal custody, with the other parenting being allowed visitation rights
  • One parent has both physical custody and legal custody, but the other parent has visitation rights

How Child Support is Impacted by Custody

Typically, in custody cases, one parent will be ordered to pay child support. Child support is the money paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to cover expenses for the child. Since the custodial parent spends the majority of the time with the child, they are assumed to spend more of their income on the child and will need to receive child support.

The non-custodial parent typically spends less than half the time with the child. If his annual income is more than $10,000 but less than $100,000, he will have to pay a certain percentage as mandated by state guidelines for child support.

Experienced Mississippi Child Custody Attorneys Are Here to Help

Hancock Law Firm understands that your children’s needs come first, which is why it is important to understand Mississippi’s child custody laws. However, if you have questions about your case, consider contacting a family law attorney to protect your rights. Our skilled attorneys are here to make sure you and your child’s rights and needs are represented in your child custody case.

Contact our experienced Mississippi child custody attorneys today at (601) 853-2223.

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