Determining Child Custody As You Go Through A Divorce
Child custody can be arranged in a variety of ways. If the children in your marriage have a good relationship with both parents, it's important to establish a parenting plan that gives adequate time to both parties. The plan can look a variety of ways, and it should always look at what is best for the children first. Some parents go with a "one week on, one week off" schedule, while others split the week up so that the children spend equal time with both parents throughout the week. When both parties are capable of caring for the children, shared legal and physical custody is best. Other options are available when one party is unable to parent the children in any capacity.
Shared Physical and Shared Legal Custody
This type of custody provides equal rights and responsibilities for both parents of the children. When both parents share legal and physical custody, both are responsible for making any important decisions regarding the children. In addition, both parents are responsible for paying for half of any of the needs of the children, usually including child care and extracurricular activities. This is an arrangement where both parents should work closely together to provide for the medical, physical, and emotional needs of the children.
Shared Legal Custody and Sole Physical Custody
Shared legal custody and sole physical custody to one parent is an arrangement used when the home of one parent is going to be used as the main address of the children. In this type of arrangement, the parent without physical custody might live out of state, or not parent the children for 50% of the time. While both parents will still be involved in any decisions regarding medical care and educational or other needs, the parent with physical custody may be more responsible for providing a home for the children, with child support from the other parent. This arrangement works well when the children get to stay in the home they grew up in, and visit with the other parent as often as possible.
Sole Legal and Sole Physical Custody
Sometimes one parent is not able to parent the children in any capacity. For example, if a parent is incarcerated, they will not be able to provide for the needs of the children. The other parent may be awarded sole legal and sole physical custody to ensure that the needs of the children are taken care of without the need for the parent to get the consent of the incarcerated parent.