When children are involved in a divorce procedure, the issue of custody can be confusing. The first step to figuring out what the best custody arrangement is for the children is to understand what the different options are. These are the most common terms regarding child custody.
Physical custody pertains to who the child lives with. Within the definition of physical custody, there is joint physical custody or sole physical custody. When parents have joint physical custody, this means that the child typically splits its time between parents. For example, the child may live with one parent for half the week and the other parent for the other half. Time does not have to be split evenly, but the child must live with each parent at least 110 days of the year for the arrangement to be considered joint custody.
Sole physical custody means that one parent is the primary caregiver for that child. This parent is generally responsible for all the child’s needs including food, clothing, shelter, and their safety.
Legal custody involves who makes the decisions about the child on issues such as their welfare, education, and health. Legal custody can also be a sole or joint arrangement. If the parents are in a joint arrangement, then they both have a say in these matters. However, sometimes the court may order one parent to have the final decision on matters. In these cases, if the parents disagree, the designated decision-maker has the final decision.
When one parent has sole legal custody, this means that parent is responsible for all decisions on issues regarding medicine, religion, education, etc.
In cases where one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent may be allowed to visit the child. In some cases, the parents work out the visitation schedule on their own. If they cannot, a court may decide to issue a schedule.
A child support lawyer can help you through this process and figure out what is best for your family. If you're looking an Okemos family law attorney, contact the skilled team and Bailey Smith & Bailey today.