What type of custody arrangement works for your family?
The first step is to figure out what kind of custody arrangement you want to pursue. There are a number of different types of child custody, and your family situation will dictate which one is best:
- Physical custody deals with where the child will live. When one parent has sole custody or primary physical custody, the child will live in his or her home; the other parent (a.k.a. the non-custodial parent) may have visitation rights, depending on the final parenting plan. For certain families, particularly ones in which the parents live very close to each other, joint physical custody may be an option. Joint physical custody allows both parents to live with the child, according to a custody schedule. However, it is important to allow the child to maintain a somewhat normal routine, which makes joint physical custody very difficult for parents who live in different places.
- Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the upbringing of the child. If both parents are actively involved in the child’s life, it is best to pursue joint legal custody. Joint legal custody allows both parents to play a role in decisions about the child’s schooling, religion, and medical care, among other things.
- Sole custody awards physical or legal custody to just one parent. Sole custody usually applies when one parent is unfit to raise a child.
- Joint custody can take three forms: joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or joint legal and physical custody. Joint legal custody is extremely common, as it allows both parents to be involved in the decision-making process. Joint physical custody agreements are rather common and allow the child to spend time with both parents. This may include a couple days each week, plus alternating weekends, at one parent’s house, or it could involve alternating months or years spent with each parent. It is important to note that joint physical custody requires a high level of cooperation between parents.
The court tries to avoid awarding sole custody whenever possible. In the court’s eyes, it is preferable to award physical custody to one parent while still allowing the other parent to participate in the child’s life. Often times, one parent is awarded physical custody and both parents share legal custody so they co-parent.
Child Custody doesn’t have to become something dreaded. Working with an expert like Soheila Azizi can help you find the best possible solution for you and your children. Soheila Azizi and her legal team are trained to help you find answers.