If you are getting a divorce, you already know how difficult the process can be. However, for divorcing couples with children, there can be even more challenges. For instance, divorcing parents will often have to decide where the child will live and determine who will make the decisions relating to the child’s upbringing. Divorce courts are solely focused on making child custody decisions in the best interest of the child.
Generally, divorcing parents have to determine who will have physical custody of the child and who will have legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child will physically live. In many cases, the child will primarily live with one parent, who has sole custody, while the other parent will be granted parenting time, formerly referred to as visitation. However, if both parents can work together, joint physical custody is also an option. In such cases, the child will split his or her time equally between each parent.
Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to major decisions relating to the child’s education, religion, after-school activities and medical care. Many states prefer to grant divorcing couples joint legal custody to make sure both parents are involved in the decision-making process. If the parents are unable to work together, and one parent seems to be making decisions on their own, the other parent may go to court to enforce the joint legal custody order or attempt to get sole legal custody.
If one parent is financially unable to care for the child, is struggling with drug and/or alcohol abuse issues or has other health problems that make them unfit to care for the child, the other parent may be granted sole physical and legal custody. However, in many cases, both parents will choose to share custody and work up a parenting agreement detailing their joint custody arrangement. The parenting agreement will need to be signed by a judge before it goes into effect.
Divorcing parents have a variety of child custody options to choose from. A divorce attorney in the Roseville area can help determine which arrangement is best for your family.