Child custody is a legal term regarding guardianship which is used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent or guardian and a child in that person's care. Child custody consists of legal custody, which is the right to make decisions about the child, and physical custody, which is the right and duty to house, provide and care for the child. Married parents normally have joint legal and physical custody of their children. Decisions about child custody typically arise in proceedings involving divorce, annulment, separation, adoption or parental death. In most jurisdictions child custody is determined in accordance with the best interests of the child standard.
Following ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in most countries, terms such as parental responsibility, "residence" and "contact" (also known as "visitation", "conservatorship" or "parenting time" in the United States) have superseded the concepts of "custody" and "access" in some member nations. Instead of a parent having "custody" of or "access" to a child, a child is now said to "reside" or have "contact" with a parent.
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