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I am sorry to hear about this situation. Someone in your situation would have to file for custody/visitation orders
Without custody orders, either parent can do whatever they want with the child and are expected to work together. This of course often fails, which is why custody orders are now a standard.
EITHER party can file for custody. See here
for do-it-yourself information. However, counsel is recommended.
The Court decides on custody based on the rule of thumb of "best interest of the child
." This includes, but is not limited to, general stability of the parent, financial stability, indoctrination of the child in the current school and environment, household condition and living condition of the child, other persons living in the house, etc. The courts generally do not like to split the custody 50/50 since this is hard on the child unless both parents agree to this.
One parent usually becomes the custodian and the other parent becomes the "visiting" parent which is generally one day a week, every other weekend, and alternating holidays. The nuanced points of the custody can either be decided by the parties or the Court, if the parties cannot come to an agreement.
Even if a parent does not get managing custody, they are almost guaranteed visitation unless they have a drug problem, alcohol dependency, or an unsafe home environment. Abuse and or neglect of the child or previous children are an almost automatic bar for even visitation, although supervised visitation
may be granted by the Court.
Of course, that is the standard order of possession. That order can be modified if both parties agree or if the Court finds that it is an extraordinary situation.
The visiting parent pays child support
to the custodian, unless the custodian declines it - see here
for an estimate. However, this can be altered if both parties agree to a lesser or higher amount or do not put child support in the orders all-together; the Court will only impose default child support if the parties cannot agree.
Once the custody orders have been filed, it normally takes a few months to get a trial hearing. MEANWHILE, either party can ask for TEMPORARY orders
for custody/visitation while the main trial hearing is pending. This may also include a request limiting her RELOCATION or TRIP out of state, unless the Court approves it.
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