Kids & Custody Options
It is always less expensive, time-consuming and troublesome when both parties involved in a marital split can resolve problematic issues by themselves without having to result to litigation. When a couple can make their own decisions, it is almost always better than having the court mandate them. This is especially important when it comes to people who have children that they will be caring for and sharing time with after the divorce is finalized.
However, if both parents cannot agree on the proposed child custody or visitation arrangements in a divorce case, the court will ultimately have to make the final decisions. Custody of children can be granted to one parent, both parents, or someone else altogether. It all comes down to what is in the best interests of the children. The court will take into consideration the health, safety and welfare of the children, including the behavior of the parents in the home. If the children are old enough to make rational decisions on their own behalf, the judge will hear their wishes, but may choose not to enforce them over any other input.
Generally, most court-mandated custody arrangements will be based on how various factors in the household affect the children. One divorcing parent might be awarded sole physical custody and the other parent granted only visitation rights. Of course, if there has been evidence of abuse or threat to the children, the offending spouse will probably not be granted any visitation rights at all. The court can also grant custody to grandparents and other relatives if parental custody would be harmful to the children.
Parents do have the right to request changes be made to a custody arrangement after the orders have already been established if they can show good cause. If the circumstances in the home have changed, the court can choose to modify or rewrite the custody orders if it can be shown the changes would benefit the children. It is easier if both parents can mutually agree on a custody modification, which will allow the divorce court to modify the orders without a hearing in some cases.
Child Custody Options:
Physical Custody – Is when one parent has a child living with them by order of the court.
Legal Custody – Is the legal right to make decisions concerning a child’s health, education and general welfare.
Sole Custody ““ Occurs when one parent has been granted sole physical custody of a child and the other parent has visitation rights only.
Sole Physical Custody – Awarded when one parent is deemed unfit or in cases of child abuse or neglect.
Sole Legal Custody – When one parent makes all the decisions on a child’s health, education and general welfare.
Joint Custody – When both parents equally share the responsibility for and custody of their children.
Joint Physical Custody ““ When a child lives with both parents for equal amounts of time.
Joint Legal Custody – When both parents share equal legal responsibilities for the children.