If you’re going through a divorce, then one of the things that you may need to discuss is your child custody rights.
This is split into two parts. Legal custody is a parent’s right to decide how their child is raised. This may include whether they go to private school, have a religious upbringing, undergo medical examinations or are put on restricted diets. Physical custody is a parent’s right to have their child reside with them, which often includes sheltering, clothing, feeding and maintaining a child’s daily routine.
Parents get legal and physical custody depending on a child custody arrangement. Parents may have sole custody or joint custody. Here’s what you should know about each.
How does sole custody work?
A parent with sole custody likely has full legal and physical custody rights. This may mean that that parent can make every decision on their child’s upbringing and daily routine. The other parent may have no or little involvement in their child’s life – or they may have very limited visitation rights. Sole custody is usually only granted if the other parent isn’t seen as fit to raise their child.
How does joint custody work?
Conversely, parents may work together to decide how their child is raised in a joint custody arrangement. Joint custody splits the responsibilities and rights of legal and physical custody.
Parents with joint custody may need to divide their time to do things for their children, such as picking them up from school, planning playdates with friends, attending doctor appointments or spending holidays together. Joint custody generally also means that parents must remain in constant communication to cover all of their child’s needs and wants.
Many courts believe that joint custody is best for children. But, if you have different ideas about your child’s future and your right to raise them, then you may need to reach out for legal help.