No parent wants to live apart from their child, which is why custody and visitation are so important. There is also the fact that custody and visitation issues can be ongoing, such as when a parent relocates, or finds a new job. This is especially true on the coast due to the high number of military service personnel who are routinely transferred out of state. Custody in Mississippi is divided into legal custody and physical custody. Usually, Mississippi parents will receive some form of both. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as “standard visitation.” If the parties cannot agree to a visitation arrangement which the Judge will approve, the Judge will then craft his or her own schedule. This is why it is key to craft a custom visitation schedule that accommodates each family’s particular traditions and to attempt to foresee and avoid future conflict.
If the parties cannot agree to a custody and visitation arrangement, the Court will do so for them by applying what are known as the Albright Factors, which are:
- Age Health and Sex of the Child
- Continuing Care Prior to Separation
- Parenting Skills
- Capacity to Provide Primary Childcare and Employment Responsibilities
- Physical and Mental Health and Age of Parents
- Emotional Ties of the Parent and Child
- Moral Fitness
- Home, School, and Community Record of the Child
- Preference of a Child Age Twelve or Older
- Stability of the Home Environment and Employment of Each Parent
- Other Relevant Factors
Judges must weigh each parent’s merit with respect to each factor. However, this is not a magic formula in which custody is given to the parent who has the most favorable factors. The overriding concern is the best interest of the child. And though these factors sound relatively simple, the evidence needed to prove them is not so straightforward. This is why you need an experienced Mississippi divorce attorney to fight for your children for you. If you are facing custody or visitation issues as part of a divorce, or even years after your divorce, please call us today at 228-206-5758.