How does Child Custody Work?

At one point, you used to be one big happy family. You had children together, you built a life together. Whatever the circumstances may be, it ultimately had to end in divorce. This can be devastating. DIvorce alone is tragic but now you have to put your kids through it. Now you have to go through the custody battle. It’s important to know the different types of custody that can be awarded.

Physical vs Legal Custody

There are two main parts of custody, physical and legal custody. Physical custody is where the child(ren) will physically live. Legal custody is where the parent will be able to make important decisions for the child’s life. For example, if you have sole legal custody you may decide what school your child(ren) will attend. Joint legal custody is often presumed for the child(ren)’s best interests. The courts will typically award joint legal custody unless under certain circumstances such as the parents living far apart, there is domestic violence going on in the family, the child(ren) has special needs, or any other factor the court may assume relevant if provided with suitable evidence.

Sole Legal & Sole Physical Custody

One of the parents is awarded both physical and legal custody over the child(ren). The child(ren) will live with one parent and that same parent is responsible for making important decisions in their life. The non-custodial parent is awarded with parent time with the child(ren). There is a standard parent time schedule for children older than and younger than 5. However, the schedule of parent time is ultimately at the discretion of the court.

Split Custody

Split custody is often used when there is more than one child involved. Each parent will get sole physical custody of at least one of the children. Legal custody may still be shared among the parents. Split custody typically isn’t too common.

Joint Legal & Joint Physical Custody

This form of custody is typically the most common. Parents will work out a schedule based on their housing arrangement, child’s needs, and work requirements. The court may also impose an agreement. The child(ren) split time living with one parent and then living with the other parent. Both parents will make important decisions about the child(ren) together.

Joint Legal & Sole Physical Custody

This means that the child will have a permanent residence with one parent but both parents will make important decisions for the child(ren). This way both parents have a part in the child(ren)’s lives. The other parent will receive visitation rights. This type of custody is more common when parents live far apart or both parents work.

Divorce alone takes a toll on you. Now that your kids are involved, there’s even more pressure and stress on you. The last thing you want to do is put your stress onto your children.You’re going to have to deal with your former spouse until your children are no longer minors. You want to make sure the courts give you the rights you deserve in regards to your children. Coming to an agreement can be tough. You need someone who will actually listen to your needs and concerns. You need someone who is an expert in child custody cases. Salt Lake City child custody lawyer Christopher M. Ault at The Ault Firm is available to help protect your rights and the welfare of your child(ren). Contact him at 801-539-9000 for a free consultation or fill out this form.