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Understanding different types of child custody agreements

Child custody agreements can be complicated. Divorce on its own is already hard, if you add kids into the picture then the case takes a new turn. If you have been recently separated or divorced, child custody is one of the hurdles you have to tackle. When deciding on a custody agreement plan, you can view Winder Law Office website and know your options. A child custody or family law attorney can help you understand your options better. Here are some of common types of child custody agreements.

Physical Custody

Physical custody means the child lives with you. There are certain instances when the courts may award joint physical custody to both parents. This means that the child or children can live with either of the parents. Joint physical custody is granted when the parents live lose to each other. This lessens the stress on the child to have to travel every now and then. This also creates stability for the child, in the sense that they have a normal routine. If physical custody is granted to one parent, then this parent is referred to as the “custodial parent”. The other parent can be granted visitation or parenting time rights.

Legal Custody 

Legal custody is different from physical custody, while physical custody mainly deal with where the child lives, legal custody involves decisions about the welfare of the child. The parent with legal custody gets to make long term decisions regarding the child. These decisions may involve education, religious guidance, medical care and other decisions that have long term consequences. In most cases, legal custody is granted to one parent when the courts establish that the other parent is unfit to raise the child. If the parent is undergoing rehabilitation as a result of substance abuse, then they are declared unfit to make decisions that affect the upbringing of the child. Legal custody can be contested if the parent can prove that they are fit and sober.

Sole Custody

Under a sole custody agreement, one parent is granted sole physical custody or sole legal custody. The courts grant sole custody if they establish that one parent is unfit to raise the child. Factors such as drug or alcohol dependency, child neglect, child abuse and anger issues can make the courts award sole custody to other parent. Recently, most states have realized the importance of both parents in a child’s life. As such, they are now moving away from sole custody awards. In cases where they are forced to award sole custody, they still give generous visitation hours to the other parents. However, they must establish that the other parent does not pose any danger to the child.

Joint Custody

Joint custody can be joint physical custody, joint legal custody or joint legal and physical custody. The parents are expected to jointly come up with a parenting schedule. They can draft one on their own or through mediation. The courts can also create one for them based on their schedules and the best interest of the child.

It is best to consult with a child custody lawyer to help you make an informed decision.


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