When it comes to Ancillary Matters regarding Children, there are 3 main issues that the Court needs to decide:
- First, Custody of the Children.
- Second, Care and Control of the Children.
- Third, Access (or Visitation Rights) to the Children.
Custody of the Children does not mean giving the rights to the parent who will get physical custody. Custody in this context doesn’t only mean daily, physical custody. In Divorce proceedings, Custody of the Children relates to the overall authority to make major and important life decisions for the children, for example, choices regarding their education, schooling and choice of school, what religion they choose or are exposed to, whether they can receive specific medical treatment and whether they can migrate or relocate to live or study overseas.
Generally, if you and your spouse cannot agree on how to deal with the issue of Custody, then the Court will often give both parents Joint Custody of the Children.
Care and Control of the Children relates to which parent will be given the rights and responsibility of being the main caregiver on a day-to-day basis. This means that the Children will mainly live with the parent who has been granted Care and Control, for example from Monday to Friday whilst attending school.
Access of the Children is the rights given to the parent who was not granted Care and Control of the Children. Access of the Children effectively means the visitation rights that the parent will have, meaning that the parent will have the right to spend time with the Children either on an unsupervised or basis depending on the circumstances of the Divorce and family situation. The terms of Access can also be very specific and clearly defined or they can be very general and cover a broad range of situations.
So, there you have it, some basic information on: What are the main issues regarding Child Custody that the Court will handle in a Divorce?