Child custody is generally a proceeding in which legal custody, physical custody, residential care, and/or visitation with respect to a child is an issue.

The term includes a proceeding for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence, in which the issue may appear.

Often time, parental disputes regarding the custody of child occur long before the parents ever seek legal intervention. A child custody proceeding is commenced when a parent, or prospective parent, files the initial document pertaining to a child with the court.

It is important for parents to understand the differences between (1) rights and obligations, regarding child custody and parenting time, that have been previously established by the court; (2) those that exist by operation of law; and (3) the interaction and impact of each. Generally speaking, the sooner a parent takes legal action, the better their chances are in attaining a favorable outcome.