As you move through the divorce process, you may have many questions pertaining to child custody. It doesn't matter if you have one child with your former spouse or several, you need to know how custody is determined and what you can do to put yourself in a better position.
The primary thing to remember is that the court always takes into consideration the best interests of the child. In part because of that tenet, joint custody is generally the most common type. With this, there is shared legal custody, even though only one parent is the physical custodian of the child.
When you hear the phrase "sole custody," it means that one parent has both physical and legal custody of the child. While the other parent may be able to visit with the child, he or she does not have a say in making major decisions about the child's upbringing. This could be due to perceived parenting deficiencies or for unrelated reasons.
The parent with whom the child lives is the one with physical custody. In many cases, one parent is awarded sole physical custody with the other parent having visitation rights. Some courts award custody where the children alternate days or weeks staying with both parents, or the parents will sometimes even take turns moving in and out of the family home.
It's a good idea to learn as much as possible about the various types of child custody, as this will help you understand what to expect as your divorce proceeds through the courts.
The court is going to do what's best for the child, but there are steps you can take to position yourself for the best outcome.
Source: FindLaw, "Types of Child Custody," accessed Aug. 29, 2016