Child Custody

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney

Child custody law varies significantly from state to state in many ways, but the common thread is that all states, including Mississippi, place significant importance on a determination of the best interests of the child/children that are subject to the court’s jurisdiction.    Child custody disputes determine which parent will have custody of the children. Legal custody is most commonly joint, i.e., shared between the parents on an equal basis. Legal custody gives the parent the right to make decisions regarding medical treatment, obtain school records, make educational decisions, and make fundamental decisions on behalf of the child.

Physical custody is the issue over which the majority of custody battles occur. Physical custody is a determination of which parent will be the primary custodian of the child/children on a regular basis.  The physical custodian typically makes the final decision if there is a dispute, although the importance of legal custody cannot be understated.  The parent who is denied physical custody must, absent unusual circumstances, pay statutory child support.

Child custody hearings evaluate factors such as the suitability of each parent, the psychological, and developmental needs of the children, the ability of the parents to communicate with each other, the prior and continuing care the parents have provided, the wishes of the children, the emotional ties of the parent and children, moral fitness, school and community record of the children, any custodial agreements of the parents, and any history of domestic abuse as provided by statute.  Any child over the age of twelve (12) may testify orally or by affidavit their preference of which parent to live with, although this factor is to be weighed against the other criteria established by the Mississippi Supreme Court and by statute.  It is commonly misunderstood that a child age 12 or over may simply “choose” which parent to live with.

The wise legal consumer must seek representation by a Mississippi child custody attorney with not only trial experience, but who shares a personal understanding of the emotional nature of child custody disputes.  As a single father with full legal and physical custody of his four year old son, Lucas, Matthew fully empathizes with those who fully value the raising and rearing of their children.  This area of practice became so much more important for Matthew after becoming a father and obtaining custody of his son.