Child Custody FAQ

Is race ever an issue in custody or visitation decisions?

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Is race ever an issue in custody or visitation decisions?

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional for a court to consider race when a noncustodial parent petitions for a change of custody. In Palmore v. Sidoti, 466 U.S. 429 (1984), a white couple divorced, and the mother was awarded custody of their son. She remarried an African-American man and moved to a predominantly African-American neighborhood. The father filed a request for modification of custody based on the changed circumstances. A Florida court granted the modification, but the U.S. Supreme Court reversed, ruling that societal stigma, especially related to race, cannot be the basis for a custody decision.

For more information about child custody and visitation, check out Nolo's articles and FAQs on Child Custody, Child Support & Visitation.

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