Every Colorado parent working through a divorce will have concerns about what will happen to his or her children during and after the process. If you are a parent and you are facing divorce, you likely share these concerns, and you may be wondering what your parental role will look like after everything is final.
As a parent, you have the right to maintain a strong relationship with your children after divorce. Children thrive when they are able to maintain close ties with both parents and have a measure of continuity of lifestyle. It can be helpful for you to understand the two types of custody and to know what they could mean for your final custody order.
What’s the difference between physical and legal custody?
Just as no two families are the same, no two custody plans should be the same. Yours should match the details of your unique and individual situation, taking into consideration factors such as special medical needs and non-traditional work schedules. In your custody plan, you will have to decide how to outline both physical and legal custody. The differences between the two are as follows:
- Physical custody: Many parents find that sharing physical custody is good for their kids. This includes summer vacation, holiday schedules, family trips, where the kids will stay on the weekends and more. This involves anything that impacts how much time you will be physically present with your child.
- Legal custody: This refers to a parent’s right to make decisions for the child. This includes education, medical care, religious preferences and more. In some custody plans, having one parent retain full legal custody while sharing physical custody may work best. In most cases, however, courts award joint legal custody.
The details of your custody plan will impact your family for years to come. It is prudent to take steps to ensure that you keep your sights on a strong post-divorce future for both you and your kids.
Can you decide what will happen?
Many people are able to work out the details of their divorce order without ever stepping foot inside a courtroom, including provisions related to child custody. You and your spouse may work on the details of a beneficial and workable plan, keeping the best interests of your children as the priority.
Whether you end up in litigation or are able to have peaceful negotiations, you do not have to do it without the support of a knowledgeable legal ally.