You’re a parent who’s going through a divorce. This has likely never happened to you, so you may not be sure what the future will hold. So that you’re prepared, you may need to know one of the things that many parents discuss is child custody. Child custody determines each parent’s right to raise their children, which is divided into legal and physical custody.
Legal custody is a parent’s right to decide how their children are raised. For example, legal custody would allow a parent to decide their child goes to private school instead of public or home school. Physical custody is a parent’s responsibility to maintain their children’s daily routine, which includes providing food, shelter and clothing.
Legal and physical custody are important to know as you discuss your child custody arrangement. A child custody arrangement determines each parent’s involvement in their children’s lives. There are two popular child custody arrangements: joint and sole. Here’s what you should know about each:
Co-parenting with your ex-spouse
Parents who have joint custody work together to raise their children. Co-parents don’t need to live together to raise their children, but they may need to work out a daily schedule so each parent has time with their children. This may mean that each parent has separate weeks where they are in charge of their children. Co-parents may also need to communicate often to decide together what’s best for their children.
Taking on all the responsibilities as a parent
If a parent isn’t seen as “fit” to raise their children, the other parent may be given sole custody. Sole custody allows one parent to raise their children without any input from the other. While this can benefit many parents and be in the best interests of children, it also means that the parent with sole custody is raising their children alone.
Fighting for your children’s best interests isn’t always easy. You may need to reach out for legal help to learn about your child custody options.