As a couple, you and your spouse likely had your child’s schedule laid out and made plans around work and school. You also didn’t have to discuss which one of you would see your child at any given moment, and you made major decisions about your child’s health, education and future together. However, these are matters that you’ll likely need to think about a lot differently as a divorcing parent.
Child custody determines each parent’s rights and responsibilities to their children. Legal custody is a parent’s right to decide how they are raised, such as if they are home-schooled or put in a private or public school or if they undergo medical procedures. Physical custody is a parent’s responsibility to provide their children with food, shelter and clothing and maintain their daily routine.
Whether a parent has physical and/or legal custody is often determined by the custody arrangement. Here’s what you should know about each:
What version of custody is right for you?
Sole custody can give one parent full legal and physical custody. This means that the parent with sole custody is responsible for raising their children and the other parent may have some visitation hours. This is often the case if one parent is unfit to raise their child.
If parents can work together after a divorce, then they may be able to share joint custody. Joint custody allows parents to make decisions together regarding how their children are raised. If parents have joint custody, they also need to work out daily schedules so that each parent has days or weeks where they are responsible for their children’s daily routine.
It’s not easy to know what’s best for your children as you go through a divorce. You may need to reach out for legal help to understand your options.