If you are in the middle of a divorce and children are involved, you and your former spouse are going to have to come up with a custody arrangement that works for both of you. Depending on the living situation of both parties, and the ability of both parents to provide adequate care, a parenting plan will need to be created. If the children are older, their wishes should be taken into consideration as well. Whether you share physical custody and equal parenting time, or you have visitation every other weekend, a parenting plan should address all custody and visitation issues regarding the children.
Shared Legal and Shared Physical Custody
When both parents share physical and legal custody, both parents are responsible for making major decisions for the children. In general, both parents will share equal parenting time with the children, and both parents will be responsible for getting the children to school, to medical appointments, and will provide for their overall well-being. This type of custody arrangement works well when parents share similar ethics when it comes to raising the children, and they are able to make decisions amicably.
Shared Legal and Sole Physical Custody
Shared legal custody means that both parents are legally responsible for the children, but the parent with sole physical custody spends more time parenting the children. This can be a workable arrangement for parents when they want to keep the children in a particular school district, or one parent wants to move. Both parents still share legal responsibility for the children, and the parent without physical custody can have liberal visitation with the children. This type of arrangement is helpful when there are young children, and they are remaining in a family home with one parent.
Sole Legal and Sole Physical Custody
When a parent is granted sole legal and sole physical custody of the children during a divorce, this is generally due to an inability to parent the children. Whether the parent is incarcerated, missing, or otherwise unavailable, sole legal and physical custody means that the parent with the custody makes all of the decisions regarding the children. The parent with sole physical and legal custody is responsible for the day to day care of the children, and for providing for all of their needs.
If you are in the middle of a divorce and you are sure what type of custody to pursue, it's time to sit down with a child custody lawyer to discuss your options.