Custody Disputes: What You Need to Know About Child Custody
Custody disputes can be a long and drawn-out process, but they don’t have to be. Mediation is a process designed to keep the parties out of court and give them control over their own decisions. It is designed to help parents and children get through the divorce process with as little stress as possible.
What are Custody Disputes?
Custody disputes are disagreements between two parents (divorced or separated) who are trying to decide where and how the child should live. As part of this dispute, a custody order is established that determines who has legal and physical custody of the child.
Types of Child Custody
When people think of custody of a child in divorce cases, they often brainstorm scenarios that involve the mother and father fighting over who gets to keep their children. While such disputes are common, they’re not necessarily the best thing for everyone involved. The courts might decide that it is best for both parents to have a say in their children. Generally, there are three types of custody agreements they include:
- Sole legal custody where one parent has final decision-making authority
- Joint legal custody where both parents have final decision-making authority
- Physical custody where one parent has primary responsibility for living with the child
These custody agreements can be combined in different ways to satisfy both parents’ needs.
What Does It Mean for a Parent to Have Legal Custody?
Sole legal custody means that the parents have agreed that one parent will have the authority to make crucial decisions regarding their child’s life, including education, health care, religious upbringing and extracurricular activities. Sole physical custody means that the child will live with one parent almost all the time and all the decisions concerning the child are determined by that parent.
What Are the Factors to Consider Before Custody Is Granted?
When parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the family court must step in and decide. The court’s primary concern is not the happiness of either parent but what is in the child’s best interest. In determining this, the court will consider several factors:
- Each parent’s physical and mental health
- The child’s relationship with both parents
- The age of the child and their preference
- Whether there is a history of domestic violence or drug abuse by either parent
- The work schedule of each parent
- The financial resources available to the parents
- Whether either parent has previously relocated with a child
In making its final determination, the court will award one or both parents sole legal and physical custody. Visitation schedules are created by the parties or by default if they cannot agree.
Are You Looking for a Custody Dispute Attorney?
If you find yourself in a custody dispute with your spouse or an ex-spouse, you need to understand how your state settles these disputes and what you can do to help your case. At Strategic Divorce, our experienced attorneys are ready to hold your hand throughout the journey. Call us at (847) 234-4445 and book an appointment today.