Child Custody and Divorce

Divorce is a long and stressful process and decisions surrounding the children are not often easy. Whenever there are children involved in a divorce, issues of child custody are pertinent. While it would be preferable that the children spend time with both parents under joint child custody law, that is not always the best choice for the child. The decisions are based on a number of different factors which include the conditions of the parents and the children, as well as particular state laws. The laws for child custody vary from state to state. Parents are allowed to make their own custody plans if they wish and are able to do so. In the event that they cannot formulate their own plan, they may seek the help of a neutral third party, such as a mediator. In the absence of a mediator, it may be up to the court to make the final decision.

Legal Custody and Physical Custody

In child custody arrangements, unless the parents decide on joint custody, one of the parents receives full custody rights and the other parent receives visitation rights. When making child custody decisions, the parents must also consider who will have legal custody and physical custody over the children. Legal custody involves large issues, such as medical decisions or how the children will be educated. Physical custody focuses on which one of the parents will be the primary caretaker of the children. Sometimes one parent is granted both legal custody and physical custody, in which case that parent has full oversight over the children. Other times, the court may grant joint custody, in which case the parents must decide how to split the legal custody and physical custody responsibilities. Sometimes the parent who does not have custody of the children is still required to help financially.

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