In a divorce, there is usually a division of assets. When a couple has children, they must also decide who will have custody. In some cases, a judge must make this decision when the couple cannot agree. Deciding on the division of property may be simple compared to the possible conflict over the custody of children. For many couples, this is the most important aspect of their divorce.
There are two forms of child custody:
- Sole Custody – If only one parent has legal or physical custody of the child, that person is said to have sole custody. Courts award sole physical custody of a child to one parent if the other parent is deemed “unfit.” This decision can be based on an alcohol or drug problem as well as child abuse or neglect. Though many ex-spouses have anger and animosity toward their former partners, you are encouraged to seek sole custody only if the other parent could cause direct harm to the child.
- Joint Custody – When the parents do not live together but both have custody rights over the child, it is known as joint custody. This can occur in situations involving divorced and separated parents or parents who have never lived together.
Joint custody is quite common; in fact, most courts are inclined to grant joint custody unless there is a good reason not to do so. Joint custody can include:
- Joint legal custody – Both parents are responsible for decision making related to the child
- Joint physical custody – The child spends a significant amount of time with each parent
- Joint legal and physical custody – Both of the above
Parents who share joint custody work out an arrangement that works for their schedules as well as the child’s. This could mean alternating days, weeks, months or even years. It can also include alternating holidays and weekends. If the parents are unable to agree on a schedule, the court will impose an arrangement.
Pros And Cons Of Joint Custody
There are several pros and cons to consider when creating a joint custody arrangement. Certainly, joint custody has the advantage of allowing continued contact and involvement with the children for both parents, which benefits them both. However, there can also be disadvantages to these arrangements. For example, the children may have to be moved often, resulting in an unsettled home life for them. The parents are also faced with the expense of maintaining two homes for the children and dealing with conflicting schedules. This can lead to tension and ultimately to conflict in the family.
If you are seeking a divorce and need help creating a fair and sound custody arrangement, turn to the trustworthy attorneys at Men’s Legal Center. With decades of experience, the attorneys at Men’s Legal Center are here to help you with any family law situation you may be facing, from divorce to custody issues. Rather than tackling these complicated and life-changing situations on your own, have an understanding attorney from Men’s Legal Center on your side.