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What should you know about child custody?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Child Custody And Support

If you are going through a divorce and have children, then the most important topic of conversation will likely be child custody. Child custody determines how parents will be involved in their children’s lives after a divorce. Parents can improve their chances of establishing a strong custodial arrangement that they believe are best for their children by learning child custody terminology and understanding the importance of focusing on their children instead of conflict with the other parent. 

There are a few things to know about child custody, including:

Legal and physical custody

Custody is broken down into legal and physical aspects. Legal custody determines how involved a parent is in deciding how their child is raised. This can include deciding whether a child will go to a private school, if a child is involved in certain religious practices, if a child needs non-emergency surgery, or if a child needs to go on medication for a cognitive disorder, for example. There are large decisions that can have a great influence on a child’s future. 

Physical custody decides where a child lives daily. Parents with physical custody are typically responsible for providing for a child’s basic needs, for example, three meals a day, a bed to sleep in and clean clothing, as well as doing their utmost of provide the child with the best life possible. 

Join and sole custody arrangement

Physical and legal custody are often split between parents through a variety of arrangements. When parents share both legal and physical custody, then they have a joint custody arrangement. This means that both parents can decide what is best for their children and may rotate days when they have their child in their possession. Physical and legal custody is not always divided 50/50. One parent may have more than the other. For example, most courts consider parents capable of joint legal custody even if one parent has primary physical custody of a child, unless special circumstances exist that would make joint legal custody inappropriate.

If one parent is given full physical and legal custody, then they likely have a sole custody arrangement. This parent is likely entirely responsible for their children. 

It is not easy to know how to navigate child custody alone. You can learn more about child custody to improve your odds of keeping custody of your children by reaching out for legal guidance. 


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