Child Custody and Visitation Information by State

Having the right child custody and visitation information can make all the difference in your family law case. The laws and procedures that apply to your specific needs will depend on the state and even the county where you live. So, you must research and work with a local attorney you trust.

Below are links to child custody and visitation legal information at the national and state levels. The sources include information on parenting plans and agreements where available.

You might find what you want on the state-specific Family Courts and Family Law Forms pages.

How States Decide Custody Generally

Most states follow the best interests of the child standard to make custody decisions. Courts will consider various factors to decide the custody of the child. Factors include the child's needs, the ability of each parent to provide child care, and both parents' physical and mental health.

The court will also consider the parent-child relationship between each parent and the child. The court will use these factors to order a custody arrangement or enter a visitation order. Ultimately, the court prioritizes the safety and well-being of the child.

There are different types of custody. The court may order joint physical custody, joint legal custody, or sole custody of the minor child. Legal custody means a parent can make major decisions about the child's life. This includes decisions about health care, medical care, or education. Physical custody is where a child primarily lives.

If a parent is “unfit" by the court, the court may order the non-custodial parent to undergo a support order. The non-custodial parent may have to pay child support to the custodial parent.

National

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawai'i

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Get Professional Legal Help with Your Child Custody Case

Child custody and visitation information varies by state. Forms and other resources are available. But, nothing matches the support that an experienced family law attorney can provide. They are well-versed in the laws of your state and can be your strongest advocate with the court. They can help you get a final court order on child custody.

Get started today by finding a skilled family law attorney in your state.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Both parents can seek custody of their children — with or without an attorney
  • An attorney can help get the custody and visitation agreement you want
  • An attorney will advocate for your rights as a parent

A lawyer can help protect your rights and your children's best interests. Many attorneys offer free consultations.

Find a local attorney

Don't Forget About Estate Planning

Once new child custody arrangements are in place, it’s an ideal time to create or change your estate planning forms. Take the time to add new beneficiaries to your will and name a guardian for any minor children. Consider creating a financial power of attorney so your agent can pay bills and provide for your children. A health care directive explains your health care decisions and takes the decision-making burden off your children when they become adults.

Start Planning