Custody & Visitation
Parents may determine custody and visitation arrangements for their children by mutual agreement. If parents are capable of agreeing to a custody and visitation arrangement for their children, the courts will usually respect and confirm the determination of the parents, should a formal determination be appropriate. In divorce matters, custody and visitation are determined by the Supreme Court, and in non-divorce matters, by the Family Court.
If parents are unable to agree on visitation arrangements, or if the court is not in agreement with the custody and visitation determination of the parents, the court is charged with the responsibility of weighing all relevant factors and establishing appropriate custody and visitation arrangements, based on what is in the best interests of the children. Where the safety and/or best interests of a child may demand, the court may also require visitation to be supervised or curtailed entirely. In many disputed situations, the court will appoint an attorney to act as the legal representative of the child or require that certain investigations and/or evaluations be made by third parties to assist in making a determination.
Although parents remain responsible for the support of their children until age 21 unless earlier emancipated, at age 18, children are entitled to make their own decisions regarding where they live and when they see their parents and, therefore, are able to determine their own custody and visitation arrangements.