A parent by virtue of legal adoption.
Biological ParentBirth Parent
The woman who provides the egg or the man who provides the sperm to form the zygote that grows into an embryo.
Either the biological father or the mother who gives birth to a child.
Child Born out of Wedlock
A child begotten and born to a woman who was not married from the conception to the date of birth of the child or a child which the court has determined to be a child born or conceived during a marriage but no the issue of that marriage.
Child support refers to payments—usually monthly—a non-custodial parent makes to a child to cover his basic expenses, such as food, clothing, education, and entertainment. Usually, a court orders child support to be paid and determines its amount. Every child is legally entitled to child support until he is 18, joins the military, begins living on his own, or gets married. In cases where parents share custody, the parent who earns a higher income typically pays child support to the other parent.
Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. All states require the party seeking divorce to state a legal reason for requesting it.
The place at which a person has been physically present and that the person regards as home; a person’s true, fixed, principal, and permanent home, to which that person intends to return and remain even though currently residing elsewhere.
Joint custody refers to custody agreements under which when both parents share physical custody, legal custody, or both.
Legal custody gives a parent the right to make all decisions in regards to a child’s upbringing. Such decisions include the child’s religious affiliation, method of education, and medical/dental care.
Physical custody refers to which parent provides a physical home for the child.
Second Parent Adoption
An adoption by an unmarried cohabiting partner of a child’s legal parent, not involving the termination of a legal parent’s rights; esp., an adoption in which a lesbian, gay man, or unmarried heterosexual person adopts his or her partner’s biological or adoptive child.
Separation, in terms of marriage, is a blanket term for the four phases of separation:
- Trial Separation: During this stage, the couple lives apart for a given trial period. All properties and debts acquired during trial separation are considered jointly owned.
- Living Apart: During this stage, the couple still lives apart, but all properties and debt accumulated belong to whoever accumulated it and are not jointly owned.
- Permanent Separation: At this point, the couple decides to permanently split.
- Legal Separation: In this last stage of separation, a court rules on alimony, child support, child custody, visitation, and division of property but does not grant a divorce.
Separation is highly individualized. Not every couple participates in every stage of separation. Each will decide what is best for its particular situation
A parent with sole custody has been granted exclusive physical and legal custody of a child.
A third person is anyone other than the child’s biological or adoptive parent.
Following divorce or separation, the non-custodial parent (the parent who is not legally responsible for raising the child) is often granted visitation rights by the court and/or the custodial parent. In cases where the divorced or separated parents have an amicable relationship, they decide on their own visitation schedule. In situations where there is hostility between parents, a court may intervene to schedule visitation or, in cases where a non-custodial parent has a history of abuse, alcoholism, or violence, deny visitation altogether.