A Child Custody Attorney Explains Different Types of Custody Arrangements

As an experienced child custody attorney, we work with clients as they are preparing to get divorced.  We highly recommend that you take the time to consider the type of custody arrangement that you would like to have well before getting to the point of working on your parenting plan.  When you first separate, the most difficult decisions you and your spouse will have to make will revolve around what to do with your children.  While they are people with their own needs and opinions, the court will have to decide where they will live and how much time they will spend with you and with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.Determining custody is not easy, however, with foresight it is possible to ease the transition.  First, it helps to learn what some of the standard types of custody are.  Know, however, that there is no perfect custody plan, just what is right for you and your children.Primary custody.  When one parent is awarded the primary custody of children, they will typically live with that person during the school week and at least every other weekend. What is important to note is that just because the children live with one parent the majority of the time, does not mean that they have the ability to make all decision regarding their upbringing.  That refers to sole legal custody and is typically only awarded in rare cases where the other parent has limited or supervised visitation.  In that situation, the parent with sole custody will have the right to make decisions regarding medical care, education, and religious upbringing.  Otherwise, these decisions will still need to be made together.  As a child custody attorney, we can help you to sort out the different types of custody and make a determination regarding what you feel would be best for your children.Joint custody.  In this situation, a child spends a portion of their time living with both parents. This can be divided in a variety of ways including a week on week off schedule, a mid-week rotation, or the school week with one parent and the weekends with another.  Regardless of how you share custody, in this type of parenting plan, you will both have the legal authority to make decisions regarding their upbringing.  The only thing that is typically not joint is an emergency medical decision since asking one parent to seek the approval of another would not be in the child’s best interest.  If you seek joint custody, it is necessary for you to make a decision regarding when, where, and how the exchange will be made.  This is critical for preventing future conflict.  Regardless of whether you switch custody on a Saturday morning or every Wednesday night, your parenting plan should include the location of the exchange and who is responsible for picking up or dropping off the children.  For example, “every Saturday morning at 9 AM the children will be picked up by the mother at the home of the father”.  This will help to avoid confusion and ambiguity.As a child custody attorney, we can help you to clarify the language in your proposed parenting plan so that it is clear and not confusing.

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