When you have children and plan to get a divorce, child custody decisions have to be made. Both you and your spouse have to work through how you want to divide the time with your children, which of you will be responsible for decisions, child support, and the like. To fully understand what your options are, it is crucial to understand the process of child custody. The following are some things you need to know:
There is more than just one type of child custody. Legal custody, for instance, goes to the parent who will make legal decisions for the children. Physical custody, on the other hand, pertains to where the children will reside once you divorce. This can be split evenly between you or divided based on your own individual circumstances. Also, one parent can receive both full or partial legal and physical custody of the children.
Additionally, you have to consider joint custody, sole custody, shared custody, and any other option available to you. You and your spouse will need to discuss what will work for you. In some cases, a judge will intervene and make a decision based on what is in the best interest of the children.
Making Decisions on Custody
If you and your spouse can work together and make your own custody arrangements, that is the best situation. You can each decide what you are able to contribute and how you can each care for the children as equally as possible. Once you come to an agreement, you just have to submit your plans to the court for final approval. You do need to each have your respective attorneys involved in these negotiations to ensure you each receive a fair child custody arrangement. Unfortunately, not all parents are able to do this without the insight of the court.
When it comes to making the final legal decision on custody, the court takes several factors into consideration. The court will evaluate what each of you want and determine what is in the best interest of the children. The judge will consider which of you, if not both, are best suited to support the child physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. If you have a child with special needs, that will also factor into the decision. The age of the children can also have an impact. Infants, for instance, will likely spend more time with the mother until the baby reaches an age where they can spend time away with the other parent. When children get older, the judge may allow them to weigh in on where they prefer to live. Keep in mind that custody can always be modified until the children reach the age of adulthood.
For more information, reach out to a child custody attorney near you.Share