In most states, there are two types of child custody: Legal Custody, where a parent has decision-making authority regarding medical, educational and religious matters impacting a child; and Physical Custody, where a parent is responsible for the actual living arrangements of the child as well as the rights and responsibilities associated with daily childcare.
Depending on the parenting plan agreed to during your divorce, parents may share both physical and legal custody, or one parent may be granted both, depending on the specifics of your case. Determination of custody can depend on several factors, including the age of the children, each parent’s involvement in their child’s life, the distance between parents, and many others. The typical standard for determining child custody is the best interests of the child.
There are several different types of child custody:
- Legal — the right to make legal decisions on matters that impact your child.
- Physical — determines who the child lives with.
- Sole — when one parent has both legal and physical custody of the child. The other parent may have visitation rights, but cannot make decisions that impact the child.
- Joint legal — both parents can make legal decisions on matters affecting the child.
- Joint physical — both parents share custody of the child, with the child splitting his or her time living with both parents.
To encourage the involvement of both parents in their children’s lives, courts today tend to favor a joint custody arrangement, which can be either legal or physical, or both. Parents with joint legal custody both have legal decision-making power regardless of with which parent the child lives.
If the parents have never been married and paternity has not been established – either by the father acknowledging the fact or via a court ruling, usually obtained when child support is sought – then the unmarried father should file an immediate application to protect his rights.
Protecting your interests and achieving results that supports your needs is what you can expect from Cistaro Law. Contact us today for your free consultation.