Reports reveal that more than 25 million American children live in a single-parent family and in case you’re someone who is going through a divorce and you have children who are younger than 18, child custody can indeed be a contentious issue. It is vital for you to realize that you’re not alone and that there are many professionals who can guide you through such a tender and emotional issue. As you see that the proceedings of child custody are complicated, we hereby enlist a few points and facts on divorce and child custody. Read on to know more on it.
Child custody arrangements – The types
Child custody might mean where your children will reside post divorce (physical custody) and who will be given the legal right to make the main decisions for upbringing her/him (legal custody). Parents are allowed to jointly share this responsibility and it may even happen that one parent gets all the right solely. Here are some key terms which will help you better understand child custody.
- Physical custody
Physical custody is the legal right to have your children live with you post divorce. Both the parents may share this responsibility through a joint custody arrangement and it may even be granted to one parent in sole physical custody arrangement.
- Joint physical custody
Courts usually prefer awarding joint physical custody in order to guarantee the fact that the children can be in touch with both parents. As per what eminent lawyer Benedict Morelli has to say, there are some states where this is a default law and the law may even demand an unwilling parent to prove why they don’t want their children to spend time with both parents. When you get joint physical custody, you have to share spending time with children. It need not be a 50-50 split but in cases where the parents aren’t able to reach up to an agreement, the schedule is imposed by the courts.
- Legal custody
Legal custody is your basic right to make decisions regarding the upbringing of your child like medical care, education and all other religious instructions. This is similar to physical custody but legal custody can be shared jointly between both parents or vested in one parent. Usually, in majority of the cases, both parents start having joint legal custody post divorce and this means they enjoy equal right to make decisions regarding raising their child.
- Third party custody or guardianship
There are some rare situations when family friends or relatives might seek custody and as per law, this is called third-party custody, non-parental custody and guardianship. In this case, the court performs a background check of the petitioner, carries on home inspections, arranges interview sessions and then makes the decision whether the place is the best interest for the child.
Therefore, in case you wish to give advice to a couple who is about to split, you should first know the terms associated with child custody. Seek help of a child custody lawyer to alleviate the stress of the process.