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What are some of the definitions related to child custody?

Child custody is an important issue in a divorce. Texas residents would agree that the outcome of a divorce can be more critical when children are involved. A couple may move on in life, yet they still have to take care of the children. Across the United States, including here in Texas, courts order one parent to provide child custody and the other to pay child support. The non-custodial parent is also requested to come up with a visitation schedule.

In Texas, there are certain definitions related to child custody. The term "abandoned" means a child who has been left without reasonable care. A "child" is a person who is below the age of 18. A "child custody determination" is a court order that outlines the physical, legal custody of a child as well as any visitation schedule, if any, of a parent. The term does not refer to any child support order or to any monetary obligation of a parent.

A "child custody proceeding" is a court procedure that decides whether the child will be in either the physical and legal custody of a parent. The term also may include a divorce proceeding, neglect, separation or abuse of a child. Even concerns related to paternity, the end of parental rights, and a domestic violation protection order issues are decided in a child custody proceedings. However, matters related to juvenile delinquencies are not decided here.

The "home state" is the state where the child lives with the parent or a foster parent for at least six months before the start of a child custody proceeding. In case the child is less than six months old, then the term means a child born in that state. An initial determination is the first child custody order of a child in a particular case. The "issuing state" is the state where the child custody order has been issued.

Source: LRCVAW.org, "Tex. Fam. Code ยง 152.001 et seq.," Accessed on March 5, 2015

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