When you get married or have a child with someone, you might have a picture of the perfect family in your mind. Unfortunately, things do not always go according to the ideal plan. Sometimes, a divorce is the best option for the adults involved and the focus turns to helping the child(ren) through this situation. Child custody and visitation agreements vary from state to state, and consulting with an attorney can be a great first step. Here are a few things you’ll need to know moving forward regarding child custody and visitation:
- Joint or sole custody is a critical first step. Joint custody is when two parents share in the custody of their child, sometimes this means physical custody and other times legal custody or both. Sole custody is when only one parent has a form of custody, usually physical custody although there may be joint legal custody or visitation options.
- Physical custody is in regard to where the child lives. Physical custody, joint or sole, refers to where the child lives. That parent(s) will be in charge of providing shelter, food, clothing, etc.
- Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child. Even if your child lives with the other parent, you can still maintain legal custody and have a say in issues that will affect your child. Things like their welfare, major health decisions, and even schooling are considered in legal custody.
- Visitation rules and agreements vary by situation. If one parent has sole custody, the other parent can be allowed visitation. Sometimes these arrangements are agreed upon by the parents, other times they come from court-ordered rules.
- There are different types of visitation. Different types of visitation can be applied in different situations. Supervised visitation is relatively common and means that the child can visit the other parent in a neutral location with a professional third party (sometimes a social worker) present. Grandparents can also seek visitation.
- Couples, lawyers and even judges weigh in on visitation and child custody. When a split is amicable, visitation and custody can be worked out between the two parties. In cases of more hostile or contentious splits, lawyers and couples can argue their cases with a judge weighing in to determine the best interest of the child in question.
If you are embarking on the divorce process, obtaining a lawyer can ensure fair and equitable solutions- even in amicable splits. For questions about your unique proceedings in child custody and visitation, please consult the Law Office of Janice V. Coulter today.