Are you going through a rough marriage? Did you and your partner agree that there is not much hope in saving your relationship? Then if you have a child, one of the things you will have to go through is the battle for child custody.
Not only is it emotionally draining the couple, but it can also be harrowing for the child. It affects the emotional, psychological, behavioral, and financial welfare of the child.
Furthermore, there are different types of child custody; each one having certain intricacies. And as a parent, you need to familiarize yourself with what the law says about child custody.
Continue reading below as we look at the common types of child custody.
As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of child custody. Hence, let us first discuss legal custody. The parent who wins the legal custody will have all the powers to decide concerning the needs of the child.
If a mother or father wins legal custody of their child, he or she will have the last say where the child goes to school. The same thing goes for the child’s healthcare and religion. He or she can make these decisions without the need to consult the other parent.
The parent with legal custody will have all the rights in making long-term decisions for the child’s well-being. In most cases, the court gives legal custody to both the mother and father. This is what the law calls joint custody (more on this later).
However, the court may grant sole legal custody to one parent if the other is unfit to make sound decisions.
This refers to a scenario wherein a parent enjoys the rights of having a child live with him or her. Again, the ruling is case-to-case. In some cases, the courts will award joint physical custody. This allows the child to spend more time with both parents.
Furthermore, physical custody set up works best if both parents live close to one another. This proximity gives the child somewhat of a semblance of a normal life.
But in most cases, the child only lives primarily with one parent. On the other hand, the noncustodial parent will have visitation rights.
If a parent has a history of domestic abuse, substance abuse, or child neglect, the court may rule in favor of the other parent. In this case, the court will grant sole custody to the parent who is fit to make long-term decisions.
Sole custody can involve legal custody or physical custody. In some cases, the court awards both. If the court rules in favor of sole physical custody, both parents will have equal rights concerning long-term decisions for their child.
But the child only gets to spend time with the child. However, it is unlikely for courts not to give the noncustodial parent a small amount of time with the child. Typically, the courts will award visitation rights to the other parent.
But if the noncustodial parent poses a threat to the welfare of the child, the courts may rule otherwise.
On the flip side, a sole legal custody ruling means only one parent gets the right to decide for the child.
As the name implies, it involves awarding custody to both parents. It comes with all the rights a parent can enjoy in a sole custody ruling. It can also cover legal or physical custody or both.
In joint legal custody, both parents will have the same rights when making key decisions for their child. Joint custody setups can sometimes be tricky. Some complexities and intricacies may come into play.
For example, both parents need to arrange the schedule of the child custody according to certain factors. These include their respective work schedules, the needs of their child, and the housing arrangements, among others.
One of the most popular arrangements is splitting the weeks between the parents. For the first two weeks of every month, the child can stay with the mother. For the last two weeks of the month, the child will move to the father’s house.
In some cases, parents agree on alternating months. Sometimes, the child spends the weekdays with one parent. On weekends, he will stay with the other parent.
And with the ongoing pandemic, child custody implementation became more challenging than ever.
Determining the Types of Child Custody
You also need to understand how the courts determine the types of child custody. Ideally, family lawyers will want both parents to agree on something outside the courtroom.
They want both camps to agree on specific arrangements. They want both parents to develop a positive foundation for a co-parenting relationship.
Sometimes, the situation calls for a little help from select professionals. These are your parenting coordinators and mediators. These people help arrange a beneficial agreement when it comes to child custody.
However, some cases are too volatile for arranging a positive agreement. In such cases, it is the judge who will determine the type of child custody that will benefit all parties.
Furthermore, all states in the country have specific factors for determining child custody. One state may use a different set of terminologies than the other.
Hence, you need to find a qualified attorney who specializes in child custody law.
Finding the Best Family Lawyers
Last but not least, you need to know how to find the right lawyers for your case. For starters, you need to do your homework. Come up with a list of attorneys that specialize in child custody cases.
Research their law firms and check their clients’ feedback. What are they saying about the firms’ services? After completing your shortlist, arrange for a meeting. Talk to the lawyers in person and discuss your case.
Learn More About Family Law
Understanding the types of child custody and how they work will help you decide on the best steps to take for your child. It will also help you prepare and transition with the new setup. And in case you have other legal concerns beyond child custody, there are many other things to learn.
We encourage you to read our other articles on family law. We discuss topics that will guide you in making the best legal decisions for your family.