The Types of Child Custody
The types of child custody include physical, legal, sole and joint. In physical child custody, the parent has the fight to have the child live with them. Generally, the parent with whom the child primarily lives will have primary physical custody with the noncustodial parent having the right to parenting time with the child. Joint physical custody may be awarded when a child spends significant time with both parents. Legal custody of a child gives the parent the right and obligation to make decisions regarding the child’s life, such as schooling, medical care and religious upbringing. Joint legal custody isn’t uncommon. But if you share joint legal custody with your ex and exclude that person from the decision-making process, your ex can go to court and request enforcement of the custody agreement. In addition, joint legal custody is preferred by the court. If you don’t want it, you’ll have to convince the family court judge that it’s not in your child’s best interests.
Sole custody isn’t often awarded unless the other parent is deemed unfit. Charges of child neglect, alcohol or drug dependency are circumstances that may deem a parent unfit. At the same time, the courts like to engage both parents in their children’s lives. Even if the court does award sole physical custody, the noncustodial parent may still enjoy a generous child visitation schedule.
Joint custody can exist if the parents are no longer cohabiting, separated or divorced. It may be joint legal custody, joint physical custody or joint legal and physical custody. Joint custody arrangements can be drawn up with split weeks alternating between each parent’s home. Generally, it includes an outline for weekends and holidays. Joint custody ensures contact and involvement for children with both parents.
Once child custody is established, child visitation must be put in place. The parent with custodial rights often has more influence and say over reasonable visitation in terms of times and duration. In order for a reasonable visitation schedule to work, both parents must be willing to be fair and communicate in a cooperative manner. If there are disputes, mediation may be the solution. A neutral third party assists divorced couples in identifying and resolving child visitation issues. The visitation may be fixed or modified to meet the individual’s circumstances. For example, if the noncustodial parent lives out of states, visitation may be arranged by spending the summers with that parent.
If you’re facing a divorce or separation and have concerns over child custody and visitation, turn to the attorneys at JM Blattner, LLC for legal advice. They are experienced family law attorneys and committed to acting in the best interests of the family.