Guide to Child Custody Laws in Puerto Rico
If you are currently having a child custody dispute in Puerto Rico, you may want to know how child custody laws work in the territory. There are several types of custody available according to child custody laws in PR, and you may be able to divide parenting responsibilities in many ways depending on your individual situation. This guide will teach you about several types of custody permitted by child custody laws in Puerto Rico so that you can better understand what type of custody arrangement to seek. For more in depth information on child custody laws in PR, you may want to talk to a family law attorney.
Child Custody Laws in Puerto Rico: Legal Custody
The parent or parents who have the ability to make life decisions for a child are called his or her legal custodians. These decisions would include where your child goes to school, what kind of healthcare he or she receives, and his or her religious upbringing. According to child custody laws in PR, you do not need to live with your child in order to have legal custody.
In many cases, parents share legal custody of their children even after they are divorced. If you obtain shared legal custody, child custody laws in PR will require you and your child's other parent to arrive at decisions together about your child's well being. If you seek and are awarded sole legal custody, child custody laws in Puerto Rico will not require you to include the other parent in the decision-making process (although you still will generally be obligated to notify them about changes to your child's life).
Child Custody Laws in Puerto Rico: Physical Custody
Physical custody is often what parents mean when they talk about custody. Rather than decision-making power, physical custody simply refers to where a child lives and spends most of his or her time. While legal custody can be granted without physical custody, physical custody cannot be granted without at least shared legal custody according to child custody laws in Puerto Rico.
Child custody laws in Puerto Rico allow parents to seek any parenting time arrangement that is in the best interest of their children. In some cases, one parent may be awarded sole or primary physical custody, while in others, parenting time may be split fairly equally between both parents. Child custody laws in PR do not make special provisions for mothers or fathers—both are considered equal under the law for the purposes of making a child custody determination.
If one parent is awarded primary physical custody, child custody laws in Puerto Rico generally allow the other parent to have visitation rights. Usually this visitation will be unsupervised and include overnight visits, but if unsupervised visitation puts a child at risk, the court may order that all visits be supervised by a trusted third party (a family member, friend, or social worker).
Child Custody Laws in Puerto Rico: Guardianship
In some cases, child custody laws in PR allow a child's custody to be assigned to an individual who is not their parent. A child may have a legal guardian appointed according to child custody laws in Puerto Rico if their parent is unavailable or not fit for parenting as ruled by the courts.