Different Types of Child Custody
If you are approaching a divorce and have minor children, deciding custody and living arrangements for the children can be one of the most difficult parts of the process. If you and your partner are on decent terms, then this is a decision you can make together. If you are in disagreement about a custody arrangement, then courts are likely to get involved. There is no one custody agreement that fits all situations. Each relationship and family has different circumstances that should be considered when deciding on a custody agreement. It is best, however, to choose an arrangement that is best for your children. The following are the types of custody arrangements to consider.
1. Legal Custody
Legal custody grants one or both parents the legal authority to make important life decisions for a child. These decisions include those regarding health, education, daily activities and anything pertaining to the child’s well-being. If only one parent has legal custody, then they are solely responsible for making these decisions, regardless of the physical custody of the child. If the parents have joint legal custody, they are required to continue making decisions regarding the children together. Most courts are in favor or granting joint legal custody.
2. Physical Custody
One or both parents can have physical custody of a child. If a parent has sole physical custody, the child lives primarily with that parent and the other parent can have visitation rights. If the parents share joint physical custody, then the child lives part-time with each parent. In such case, there will likely be an arrangement to determine how long the child stays with each parent depending on several factors. Courts commonly prefer joint physical custody
3. Sole Custody
A parent can have sole legal and/or physical custody. Sole custody is usually only granted if one parent is seen as unfit to care for a child.
4. Joint Custody
Parents can have joint legal and/or physical custody. Family Law courts generally prefer to grant joint custody in full if both parents are seen as fit to care for and make decisions for the children. It is of upmost importance that children maintain relationships with both parents.
It’s important to always put your children first when making decision about custody arrangements. It may be in your best interest to have sole custody of your child, but it is probably in the child’s best interest to choose a joint custody arrangement. If you are unable to agree on an arrangement or you think the other parent is unfit to care for the children, a custody battle involving the courts may occur. If you find yourself in this situation, you should hire a trusted family lawyer who can help protect your legal rights and fight for your interests such as the family lawyer Peoria IL locals turn to.
Thanks to authors at Smith & Weer P.C. for their insight into family law.