Ensuring Stability for Your Children
Child custody is one of the most emotional steps in any
divorce proceeding. Rightfully so, because it decides how your children will be
raised and affected by your divorce. However, while child custody is a
complex and difficult legal issue, it is not a zero-sum game. There are
solutions that benefit children and both parents.
The Two Types of Custody
Before you can understand the different custody arrangements, you have
to understand the different forms of custody: physical custody and legal
custody. Physical custody is also known as “residential” custody,
as it chiefly determines which parent your children will live with. Physical
custody makes a parent responsible for a child’s physical, emotional,
and social needs. These needs include food, shelter, and transportation.
Legal custody is the power to make decisions regarding your children’s
upbringing, including education and religious beliefs. While physical
custody is naturally a little exclusive—as a child can only live
in one place at a time—legal custody is often shared by both parents.
In fact, whenever possible, courts would prefer parents to both have legal
custody in order to raise their children cooperatively.
5 Kinds of Custody Arrangements
The different custody arrangements mix-and-match these two types of custody
in 5 main ways:
Sole – One parent exclusively wields physical and legal custody
Joint – Both parents have simultaneous physical and legal custody
Shared – Both parents alternate physical custody, but have simultaneous
Alternating – One parent will wield sole custody, but will switch off with the
other parent periodically
Split – Each parent will have sole, exclusive custody over different children
(rather than share custody over the children as a whole)
As mentioned above, courts prefer to let parents cooperatively raise their
children. The law recognizes that children need both parents in their
lives to lead full and healthy lives, unless one or both parents is a
harmful influence. As a result, child custody hearings are about creating
the best outcome for your children.
However, if you believe that your custody over your children is at stake,
or your spouse is a potentially harmful influence, you need a child custody
attorney to help you ensure the safety and well-being of your children.
Contact my firm—James D. Madden, Attorney at Law—in order
to speak with me about your situation.
Contact me today for a free case consultation, or call my firm at (909) 344-5704.