Child Custody: Know Your Main Options


Divorcing parents may face a bewildering array of child custody choices. It's best to be prepared with a good understanding of the two main types of custody. When it comes to minor-aged children, parents need to know how legal custody differs from physical custody.

Legal Custody 

Legal custody has nothing to do with which house the child sleeps in and everything to do with overall parental responsibility. You might consider legal custody to mean the usual ways almost all parents are responsible for their children. That means that both parents will continue to parent the child the same way they always have despite the divorce. With shared legal custody, the parents are expected to work together to deal with important issues that affect the child's welfare like:

  • Health: Coping with illnesses and more.
  • Education: Where the child attends school, their progress and goals, etc.
  • Discipline: A unified plan to deal with issues like punishment, curfews, and rules.
  • Religion: Agreement and cooperation when matters of religious nature arise such as choice, attendance, and religious training.

It's worth noting that not all parents are eligible for legal custody of their child. Parents can lose that right if they are convicted of certain crimes, are incarcerated, too ill, or otherwise unable to make decisions.

Physical Custody

When people think of custody issues, it's often physical custody they consider. This means where the child will live most of the time. The non-custodial parent then usually gets to spend time with the child using a visitation schedule. With legal custody being relatively assured, physical custody may become the flash-point with many parents. Sometimes, both parents believe they will make the best physical custodian of the child.

Within the physical custody category, a child that lives primarily with one parent is known as joint custody in many states (the word joint refers to joint legal custody). The plus side of this form of custody is that the child mostly stays put. That tends to create better security and stability for the child. On the other hand, shared or 50/50 custody means the child lives about half the time at each parent's residence. The plus side of shared custody is that the child gets to spend more equal amounts of time with both parents. The downside of shared custody is the way the child must continuously shift back and forth from parent to parent.

What you choose depends on how you get along with your spouse, the age of your children, geographical issues, and more. Speak to a child custody attorney for more information.


13 January 2022

Investing in Your Children’s Futures

I was blessed to have grown up in a home with loving supportive parents. They both worked extremely hard in order for me and my sister to enjoy a better life than they had. Financially, they bought me a new car when I was sixteen. They also paid for my college expenses. Many parents do the same for their kids. They want to provide for them in the present while safeguarding their futures. One way parents can invest in their kids’ futures is by placing money in trusts that their children can utilize when they reach a certain age. A reputable attorney can establish beneficial trusts for your kids. On this blog, you will learn about the benefits of consulting with an attorney about setting up trusts for your children.