The 21st century comes with new innovations and things to make life easier, and yet it still has the age-old problems of ruptured marriages and children caught in the middle of parents battling over who gets custody. And it’s not just a battle of who gets custody. It’s when, where and how long. It can be a conflict with no real winners from the child’s point of view.
If you’re facing this situation it’s important you know your rights as a parent, what kinds of child custody agreements there are and what’s granted in each of them. While it’s not terribly complex, it’s confusing when you’re dealing with the dual stresses of divorce and child custody issues.
The most common type of custody is legal custody and it’s shared between both parents. It’s fairly straightforward and means you have the right to make decisions on day-to-day matters about your children and have the responsibility for their care.
Another form of custody is physical custody. This is the right for the child to stay with one parent for a period of time and then the other for another specified length of time. One parent usually tends to have a greater period of time simply because of the logistics of this type of a custody agreement.
This is still a “shared custody” kind of arrangement involving both parents and the child’s visitation schedule is usually worked out depending on the lifestyles of the parents. What’s best for the child is critical.
There are situations where one parent or the other gets sole custody, meaning sole legal and physical custody. This is usually the result of one parent not being able to care for the child or they may be abusive, and is only awarded in extreme circumstances.
The other form of custody you might be awarded is joint custody. This means the parents share physical and legal custody. This is the preferred option by the courts, as it seems to be best for the child, however in some cases it isn’t possible. Talking to a knowledgeable family law attorney will make this situation easier to cope with.