Child custody refers to the overall relationship a parent will have their child in terms of care, living arrangements and decision making. Court ordered child custody is important, as the non-custodial parent will typically be tasked with making child support payments. It is therefore important to hire a family lawyer to guide you through this legal process so that they can try to meet your custody expectations. The following are some of the various forms of child custody ordered by a family court.
Physical child custody
Physical child custody grants one parent exclusivity to living with the child. It would then be up to you to decide the frequency and the duration at which the child interacts with the other parent. It should be noted though that your partner could file for joint physical custody. In this case, the court can order equal time with the child between the two parents. With joint physical custody, the parents would have to come up with a schedule that they can both agree to. This may involve delegating various days of the week to each other, major holidays and the like.
Legal child custody
With legal child custody, you are being granted the ability to make legal decisions for your child. This can be done various ways. If you get sole legal custody, you will have the authority to make these decisions without having to consult with the other parent. On the other hand, with joint legal custody, then you and the other parent have equal rights to make decisions pertaining to the child. It should be noted that having legal custody of the child does not mean you automatically have physical custody of the child too. The child may be living with the other parent but they would have to contact you and get your consent when making any legal decisions. In addition, you may have joint physical custody but only one parent has full legal custody. It is always best to try to have joint legal custody as this can prevent situations such as one parent relocating with the child out of the country without having to get consent from the other parent.
Sole child custody
As the name suggests, sole child custody grants one parent complete responsibility over the child in question. This means that the child is expected to live exclusively with the custodial parent. Sole custody also gives one parent control over all legal matters that pertain to the raising of that child. This includes choosing their school, medical decisions and more. If you believe that the other parent is not a good influence in the raising of the child, then it would be best to seek sole custody.
For more information about establishing a custody situation for your child after a divorce, work with a family lawyer.