Divorce & Children
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Child Custody

In Vermont, the term "parental rights and responsibilities" is used instead of "custody". Respectively, there are physical and legal responsibilities.

Physical responsibilities define who provides a home for the child as well as who is responsible for the day-to-day care. Physical responsibilities may be given to the one parent or both parents jointly. There is no presumption of joint custody in Vermont, so if the spouses do not ask the court for shared responsibilities, the court typically awards them just to one parent. Thus, the other party receives visitation hours, the amount of which shall be determined for each divorce case individually.

Legal responsibilities refer to the parent's decision-making power. It may be awarded either to one or both parents. If the spouses are awarded shared legal responsibilities, each parent should consult with the other about decisions on such issues as the child's education, religious aspects, travels outside the state, medical treatment, and so on. When determining legal custody, it does not matter with whom the child lives and who has primary physical responsibility.

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