Understanding Your Child Custody Case

Law Blog

Any time there are children involved in a divorce, the situation becomes more complex. There are more legal decisions to make in this type of divorce, including who will have custody of the children. For those unfamiliar with these legal proceedings, the process of determining custody can be confusing. There are a few different approaches to child custody determination, and it's in your best interest to understand all of them. Here's a look at what you need to know about your upcoming child custody hearing and the potential outcomes.

How Is Child Custody Determined?

There are many factors that affect the determination of child custody orders. The judge will consider where the child currently spends most of their time, which parent he or she is more comfortable with, and which parent is best able to provide a stable home environment.

Things like employment history, mental and physical health, living situation, and other similar details will be taken into consideration during this process. The judge's goal is to determine which custody arrangement will be in the best interest of the child and their well-being.

What Are The Two Forms Of Custody?

There are two separate forms of custody that the judge will have to make a ruling on. Understanding each of these custody forms, what they mean, and how they differ can help you to better prepare your argument in court.

Physical custody, which is what most parents think of when they go to court for a custody hearing, refers to where the child physically lives. The physical custody determination is the ruling that determines which household the child will live in, which school district he or she will go to, and which parent is responsible for maintaining the primary home environment. 

Legal custody, on the other hand, has nothing to do with where the child stays or who the child is with. Legal custody refers to the major decisions for the child's care and treatment. This includes decisions such as medical procedure decisions, school enrollment selection, and even religious affiliation choices. 

How Is A Custody Order Defined?

Now that you understand the types of custody that must be determined, you need to understand what kind of determination you might expect from the judge's final custody order. Both the physical and legal custody will be determined in one of two ways.

The judge might award sole legal or physical custody, which means that the parent deemed custodial will be the only responsible party for making the decisions or caring for the child. In the case of sole legal custody, that decision is a final one, and there's no grey area in that order. However, when sole physical custody is awarded, many times, the non-custodial parent is given visitation. The visitation order allows the non-custodial parent to still remain involved in the child's life by seeing them on weekends and sometimes one night each week. The actual division of that visitation will have to be agreed upon in court.

Joint legal or physical custody means that both parents will share the responsibilities and duties. In most situations, joint legal custody means that both parents have to agree on legal decisions involving the child. Joint physical custody is usually awarded with a defined schedule, such as alternating weeks or monthly periods in which the child stays with each parent. Both parents may be given some input into this schedule, or it may be solely determined by the judge in your case.

Talk with a child custody attorney about the type of custody that you're looking for and to build a case that supports your goal.


28 December 2020

Noni and the Accident

My name is Noni. When I was in college, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. My life was never in danger, but I did break a few bones and had a lot of huge medical bills. I was hoping I wouldn't have to get involved with an attorney, but unfortunately, it came down to that. I used a family friend who is an accident attorney to get some compensation. A few years later, I was hit while riding my bike and had to go through the same process. I suppose I'm lucky to be alive. And it's thanks to accident attorneys that I have been able to put my life back together. I started this blog as a way to let others know just how much lawyers can help you in certain situations.