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Child Custody
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Child Custody in Vermont

Even if a parent's romantic relationship ends, his or her parental responsibilities continue. As part of your split, you'll have to reach decisions on key issues including custody (known as "parental rights and responsibilities" in Vermont), visitation (known as "parent child contact" in Vermont) and child support. Each parent should be represented by his or her own child custody attorney.

Vermont Child Custody Basics

If you are divorcing your child's other parent, then child custody, support and visitation issues will be addressed as part of your divorce agreement. If you and your child's other parent were never married, you'll have to take separate legal action to address these issues.

Unmarried parents will first have to establish parentage of the child. Under Vermont law, it's not enough for the father to be listed on the birth certificate or to be living with the mother when the child is born. A court must legally rule that a man is the father through paternity proceedings.

Once paternity is legally established, parents will have to negotiate parental rights and responsibilities. In Vermont, this is split into two parts:

  • Legal responsibility pertains to which parent makes major life decisions that affect the child. These would include decisions about schooling, religion and medical care.
  • Physical responsibility pertains to where a child lives and which parent has responsibility for routine decisions.

Both legal and physical responsibility may be shared by both parents or solely the responsibility of one parent. If one parent has sole physical responsibility, the other parent typically has visitation rights.

Under Vermont law, both parents are expected to contribute to the financial costs of raising a child. The Vermont Department for Children and Families’ Office of Child Support can help parents establish, enforce and/or modify a child support order.

Find & Hire Local Vermont Child Custody Lawyers

Child custody agreements and child support orders can have a long-lasting impact on both parents and children, and can be difficult to modify once they are in place. For this reason, it's wise to hire local child custody lawyers to guide you through the child custody and support process. Whether you live in Burlington, Rutland or elsewhere in Vermont,'s legal referral service can connect you with child custody attorneys in your area. To use our free service, call us at 877-913-7222 or complete the form on this page.