Child custody is a term that describes the legal relationship between parents and children. It recognizes the rights of parents or guardians to make decisions for a child including the duty to care for the child. Child custody laws vary on a state-by-state basis, all are based on what is considered to be in best interests of the child. When parents disagree as to the legal and physical custody of the child, states have laws to solve the problem. Sometimes these disputes are solved in court with attorneys involved. Other times informal settlement such as negotiation or dispute resolution through mediation can help. In every case, a judge has to approve the agreement before it becomes final. Commonly both parents retain a lawyer to represent them through the process.