Child Custody and Visitation – Parental Rights and Responsibilities

In a child’s life, the two most important things that parents have to consider are their parental rights and responsibilities. In addition to being able to make decisions about their children’s education, religion and where they live, parents are also responsible for ensuring that the child is safe from harm and abuse.

Parental Rights

The most fundamental right a parent has is the right to make decisions for their child, such as which school or church they want them to attend and whether they should receive medical care. If the parents disagree about these things, it is usually necessary to take legal action before the child’s needs are neglected.


A parent’s responsibility to their child is the responsibility to meet their child’s physical, emotional and financial needs. These needs include housing, food, clothing, medical treatment, and education.


A court will order one or both parents to have custody of their child, depending on the circumstances. Typically, the mother is awarded primary custody if she is shown to be more capable of caring for the child than the father.

There are many different ways a judge will decide who will have custody of the child, and some factors that a court takes into consideration are the relationship between the child and both parents, where the child resides primarily (physical custody), how much time the child spends with each parent, how summer vacations are shared, and the parenting schedules of the parents.

Joint Custody

Typically, courts will grant joint custody to parents who can work together and communicate well enough to make sound decisions about their child’s well-being. This is especially true when one parent’s health or other issues make it difficult to effectively care for the child.

Sole Custody

Occasionally, a parent will be awarded sole custody of the child, which means that they are responsible for all of the day-to-day decisions for the child. This can occur when the other parent is found to have been abusive or neglectful, or when the other parent has a history of being unfit to care for their child.


The court will determine visitation schedules for the non-custodial parent based on what works best for each of the parties involved. This can range from weekends or parts of the week that are scheduled with the child, to full-time visitation on certain days.

These visitation schedules will allow the parents to maintain communication with the child and ensure that they are getting what they need in their lives. The court will often set a schedule that works for both of the parties, and it may be modified if circumstances change.

Child Support

The law requires that both parents pay for their child’s basic needs, such as housing, food, clothing, medical care and education. These expenses are usually paid until the child is 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first.

Depending on the state and the custody situation, parents can have a number of other rights, such as the right to visit their children and the right to have a say in where their children will live. Ultimately, the most important thing is to get the help you need from an experienced Miami divorce & family lawyer so that you can take care of your children’s best interests.