Getting a divorce is difficult, and when there are children involved, emotions can run rampant. If you are in the midst of a divorce and trying to work out a custody agreement, it is in the best interest of you and your children to work with a qualified attorney to figure out custody.
Full Legal and Physical Custody
If you are the primary caretaker of your children, and your spouse has abandoned the marriage, you may be able to seek full legal and physical custody. This occurs in families where one parent may be incarcerated, or has simply taken off and left the family. As the only parent capable of taking care of your children, you will be awarded full legal and physical custody, with all decisions left on their care and welfare left up to your discretion.
Shared Legal, Full Physical Custody
As two divorcing parents, it's important to consider where the children are most comfortable residing. If it makes sense for the children to remain in one home primarily, while visiting the second parent on a schedule, shared legal with full physical custody awarded to the primary parent may be considered. Shared legal custody means that both parents will be involved in educational, medical, and other decisions involving the children. Both parties have a legal right to participate in decision making. With full physical custody, this establishes the primary home of the children, and the other party would be responsible for paying child support.
Shared Legal, Shared Physical Custody
Many couples going through an amicable divorce will agree in the beginning on shared legal and shared physical custody. What this means is that the parents must still work closely together for the welfare of the children. The children may end up dividing their time between parents, having a space of their own in both homes. Both parents will be responsible for making decisions, following the visiting schedule and working together to ensure that all of the needs of the children are met. For couples who can keep the needs of their children in the forefront, this arrangement can work beautifully.
It is important to establish custody in the beginning of a divorce proceeding. If you feel that your former spouse is not a suitable parent, you need to be clear about this up front. The longer you allow visitation to occur because you have not informed the court of your concerns, the less validity your issues with former spouse will hold. Talk to a professional like Blumenauer Hackworth for more information.