Are you a parent going through a divorce? Then one of the biggest things you’re likely thinking about is your children. You may be worried about your future involvement with your children after the divorce. You may be given the opportunity to have a child custody arrangement.
A child custody arrangement gives parents legal and/or physical custody. Legal custody is a parent’s right to make decisions for their child regarding their upbringing, such as education or medical matters. Physical custody is a parent’s obligation to provide their children with shelter, food and clothing – all of a child’s basic needs that help maintain their daily routine.
To decide each parent’s involvement in their child’s life, a court will decide whether it’s best if they have joint or sole custody. Here’s what you should know:
What is joint custody?
The courts often believe that it is in a child’s best interest that both parents remain in their child’s life. If this is possible, parents may have joint custody. Joint custody gives each parent shared physical and legal custody. Despite being divorced, parents often work closely together to maintain their child’s upbringing when they share custody. This can mean planning a schedule so that each parent has time with their children that also works around their career and education.
Joint custody doesn’t work for everyone, which is why some parents will try another option: parallel parenting. Parallel parenting allows each parent to have more autonomy to make decisions for their children without the others’ input. This also means that communication between parents is limited.
What is sole custody?
If a parent isn’t seen fit to raise their child, then sole custody may apply. Sole custody gives one parent full legal and physical custody. The other parent may have some visitation rights.
Seeking legal guidance will give you a better indication of your custody options.