Child Custody and Visitation 17

How Time With Your Child(ren) is Decided in a Divorce

One of the biggest and often most difficult issues in a divorce is the custody of a child. The court makes the judgment based on what it believes will be in the best interest of the child, regardless of whether the parents agree with the decision.

That’s not to say that the court doesn’t consider the parents’ opinions – quite the contrary. The courts will consider a variety of factors when making this decision, including the child’s age and gender, the parents’ ability to care for the child, the parents’ lifestyles and work schedules, the financial situation of both parents and of course, what arrangement would cause the least disruption to the child. The courts also often allow the child to express his or her own opinion after a certain age and will take this request into consideration as well.

In general, there are two types of custody:

  • Physical Custody – the child actually resides in your home
  • Legal Custody – you have the right to make decisions regarding education, medical care and other important factors that affect the child’s life

Each of these two types of custody can be awarded jointly, meaning equally shared by both parents, or as sole custody, meaning one parent has the right and the other does not. [read more…]

Visitation

Visitation, the right of a non-custodial parent to have contact with his or her child, is a concept that you will often hear in the same sentence as custody. Visitation rights have come a long way from the traditional occasional weekend and a week in the summer. Today, courts look favorably on allowing both parents to play an active role in the child’s life and try to create a visitation schedule that will be most beneficial to the child.

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