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FATHER’S CUSTODY RIGHTS IN INDIA

 The issue of ‘Child Custody’ crops up during divorce proceedings or judicial separation; it becomes an important issue to be decided by the courts. It refers to the process of controlling, caring and maintenance of the child less than 18 years of age by the custodial parent (the rights have been granted by court) under set parameters such as financial security, understanding with child, lifestyle, etc. The prime rights of nurturing the child with respect to education, development, medical, emotional, physical, etc. lies with the custodial parent while the non-custodial parent only holds the right to access and meet the child. In innumerable cases, both the parents are provided with access to the child, but the physical custody of the child is usually granted to one parent. The Family Courts while deciding on this need to keep the best interests of the child as of paramount importance.What is the Definition of Legal Custody?In a family law context, “Legal Custody” is a type of Child Custody that grants a parent the right to make important, long-term decisions regarding their child or children. This may include aspects of the child’s upbringing including:EducationMedical and dental careReligious upbringingFinancial decisionsTypes of Child Custody in India:-The Judiciary in India, in a number of innumerable judgments, has held the view that the best interest of the child in Child Custody cases, needs to be given utmost importance, surpassing all the legal provisions laid down. The court grants the right to child custody either to one or both the parents under certain rules and regulations. Evaluating the sensitivity in this matter, the Indian Law allows parents to seek Child custody as per its below mentioned forms, They are:Physical Custody: In physical custody, a child lives with the custodial parent and undertakes all the day to day activities.Joint Physical Custody: In joint physical custody the child lives with both the parents for a significant time period. In such a set-up, both the parents have equal rights on their child.Sole Custody: In Sole custody, the entire right to live with the child lies in the hands of one parent only. This often happens in cases where in the other parent is abusive, instable, violent or incapable in nature.Third Party Custody: In third party custody, none of the biological parents have any right on the child. Instead, the child custody is granted to the third person by the court. What the Legislation has a say about Child Custody?As per the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 the Hindu child below the age of 5 years shall be kept under the custody of the mother as till this age it is only the mother who can give proper emotional, moral as well as physical support to the child.The custody of a boy or an unmarried girl below the age of 18 years and above the age of 5 years shall be given to the father of the child as he is considered to be the natural guardian and only after his death, the custody shall be given to the mother.In case the child is illegitimate then the custody shall be with the mother itself.If the parents are not willing to take the custody of the child or if the court thinks that for the welfare of the child it would be better if he is not kept under the guidance of the parents then even a third person may be allotted the custody of a Hindu child. In this case usually, the grandparents are that paternal or maternal will be preferred to get the custody of that Hindu child if they are interested.If neither the parents nor any of the close relatives of the child are initiating to take the custody of the child then the court by itself shall find an appropriate person who could take the custody of the child.Which Parent Can Be Granted Legal Custody?At the present time, most courts attempt to grant both parents equal rights with regards to legal custody. This is to help the child interact with both parents rather than just one. However, in some cases, the court may grant only one parent legal custody. This is especially true where one of the parents is deemed unfit to make decisions on behalf of the child.When determining which parent should be granted legal custody, the courts may consider many different aspects, including:The parent’s mental, physical, and emotional ability to make legal decisions on behalf of another personThe relational history between the child and the parentWhether there has been any history of abuse, neglect, or other violationsThe arrangement between the parents regarding distribution of physical custodyWishes of the minor child, if he can form opinion on his own.Financial status of both the parents.As with any child custody decisions, legal custody determinations are made with the “best interests of the child” in mind. This means that the needs of the child take preference over any personal desires or intentions of either parent.Child Custody for Fathers: How can a Father Get Full Custody of His Child?When it comes to father custody rights, various questions can arise.Custody battles for fathers can sometimes be challenging. While most courts have discarded older notions that the mother is automatically the primary caregiver, many mothers and other persons in society still hold these types of notions, but there are some situation when a father can claim custody or even full custody of child by proving any of the following reasons given under. Father Gets the Custody In The Following Manner:-In India, it is believed that no one can be a better caregiver than a mother. Unfortunately, it is not true all the time.Though while giving the custody the mother is given the first priority, the father can get it by following ways:1.     If the mother is willing to give up the custody of the child, then the father may get custody.2.     If the mother is not mentally stable, the father is the next person to get custody of the child.3.     If the child is of 13 years or more and expresses his wish to stay with the father, the Court shall grant it to the father.4.     In case the mother is of an immoral character, which may affect the child as well, the father gets the custody.5.     If the father can prove the financial incapacity of the mother which shall in future affect the upbringing of the child and also prove his financial capability to take good care of the child. 6.     If the father can prove that the background of the mother has been in dark and that if the child will stay with the mother it will prove to be fatal to the upbringing of the child or shall affect his mental and physical growth. 7.     If the mother is a convict herself, the custody of the child shall thereafter go to the father. Although the above – mentioned points are few of which are used in the court to get custody. The same is not exhaustive and can vary depending from case to case on the basis of facts and circumstances.Can a Father Fight for Child Custody If He Is Not on the Birth Certificate?Whether or not a father’s name is listed on a birth certificatecan have significant impacts on their custody rights. In most cases, if the person’s name is listed as the child’s father on their birth certificate, courts will automatically conclude that they are the child’s legal father. They will then be granted various custody rights as the legal father of the child. In many cases, even if the person is not the child’s biological father, if their name is listed on the birth certificate as their father, courts may still grant them custody rights. They may also impose various duties on them, such as the duty to pay child support if this arises in the future. If the father’s name is not on the child’s birth certificate, they may often not be granted any custody rights over the child, whether partial or full custody. If they wish to gain legal rights, and they are the biological father of the child, they may need to undergo a paternity test to prove to the court that they are the biological father. CHILD CUSTODY LAWS:The law governing Child Custody cases in India, broadly, falls under following Act :-1.     Guardian and Wards Act, 18902.     Section 26 of Hindu Marriage Act,19553.     Hindu Adoption & Maintenance Act,19564.     Section 38 of Special Marriage Act, 19585.     Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 19566.     Custody Under Muslim Law7.     Custody Under Hindu Law PLACE WHERE CHILD CUSTODY CASE IS FILED:-Child custody cases are filed in the jurisdiction of the family court/competent court where minor child ordinarily resides. For example, father is living in Mumbai. Mother is living in Delhi along with minor child. If father wants to file Child Custody, he has to file the same only in Delhi. Thus, family court or concerned competent court shall have the exclusive jurisdiction over the child custody to the exclusion of all other courts.PROCEDURE TO FILE CHILD CUSTODY CASE:-A petition for child custody or declaration regarding appointment of natural or legal guardian of minor starts child with the filing of the petition by the spouse seeking child custody  application for Interim or Temporary custody as well as Visitation Rights.Custodial parent is required to give response to the petition following which evidence are led by both parents. After closure of evidence of by both parents and their respective witnesses, if any, follows with final arguments and consequent judgement.As stated above in certain situation and exigencies a writ petition under article 32 of the Constitution of India can be filed in the Supreme court or a write petition under article 226 of the Constitution of India can be filed. Key points:Child custody cases are emotionally taxing for parties, concerned counsels, as well as the Judge(s).Generally, the age of majority is eighteen years and in some cases it is twenty-one years.Nowadays courts often take the helps of experts such as counsellors, psychologist or other specialist dealing with issues of child custody.It is extremely interesting to note that all judgements that attain finality bound parties with the final outcome. However, the decision or the judgements of child custody cases are never final. It is a departure from the general law. To explain further, Custody of Child has been awarded by judgement or by mutual consent to one of the parent. However, the welfare of the child is prejudiced by the acts and omission of the custodial parent .CONCLUSION:-For a father, custody can be difficult to win, even though the courts do not discriminate against fathers. Whether you are a father going for full custody or joint custody,youshould be prepared for a difficult child custody battle,especially if the child's mother is also fighting for custody. Consider the following tips to help a father get custody.1.    Pay child support payments within time.2.    Build a strong relationship.3.    Give respect to the child and as well the mother.4.    Maintain accurate records.5.    Attend important school and social gatherings.6.    Make sure everything you are doing is for providing good life to your child.Children are mostly attached with their mothers, so when a father wants to have a custody or full custody he must think about his child’s wish and definitely what is good for their children’s life because custody battels are already traumatic and exhausting experience for a child to go through, so the first priority of a father should be to make sure that everything he is doing  for their children is to provide happiness and good life.

Posted By

Mrighankhi Chakraborty

1 month ago

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Rights of Child Custody of Indian Parents

When couples part ways through the dissolution of their marriage the issue that is addressed first and foremost are child custody. Once couples get divorced or are legally separated the children ought to have a place to stay with either parent if the children are below the age of eighteen. There are specific rights and responsibilities towards children that parents need to fulfill which puts the couples in a quandary once they decide to divorce. Parental custody is one of the contentious issues bothering parents and the children alike with every parent trying their utmost for gaining parental custody legally. According to Indian Law, the primary consideration regarding divorce in India is the child’s welfare which tops the list of priorities in comparison with the priorities of disputing parents. Whichever parent is financially capable of supporting and taking care of the child is the fittest parent ensuring that the child has a decent upbringing would be awarded child custody.Therefore, it's pretty much an open and shut case according to child custody lawyers as the parent fulfilling the criteria for winning the child custody battle would obviously get the custody of the child, hands down. Nonetheless, for children below the age of 5, the mother by default would get custody unless the mother is clearly unfit to raise the child. Children above 9 years of age have the discretion of who would be their custodial parent. Thereafter, with the introduction of varied forms of custody, the father gets the same opportunity as the mother in child custody matters. Types of child custody1.      Physical custody: A declaration is made by the court regarding their decision on who would be the custodial parent and accordingly the child moves in with that parent.2.      Joint Physical Custody: This is a type of custody that has got legal validation in recent times wherein both parents agree to take care of the child, and both parents get legal custody of the child but the child’s physical custody could be awarded to either parent and therefore either one of them becomes the principal caretaker 3.     Sole custody: In instances where the court pronounces a parent unfit  to be the custodial parent, the entire custody of the child goes to the parent who is deemed fit4.     Third-party custody: Both parents don’t get custody of the child rather, the court awards custody to a third party. Legal provisions for parental custodyThe Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 is The Common Law offering recourse to divorced parents fighting custody battles. The rules and regulations, as well as recourse regarding parent’s custodial issues, are under the jurisdiction of this The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. The is about general laws regardless of the parents’ religion. Since India is a secular state, there are personal laws that people from varied religious backgrounds have to abide by following their custom.With times changing, mindsets are changing as well. The courts these days are considering the disputes over child custody as a child’s right and not of the parent. The children's best interests are considered to be of utmost priority as disputes over custodial rights are resolved. Even if a parent provides child support, the court as the arbiter can change that. Parents have the option of paying either in lump-sum settlements or in part payments. Once the divorce is final, the children are the court’s responsibility exclusively and decisions of the court thereafter are focused on the children’s welfare. There are experienced lawyers pan India registered on Vidhikarya for any sort of legal consultation that you may have.

Posted By

Avik Chakravorty

1 month ago

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