Child Custody Information & Options
Types of Custody Arrangements
In every custody case, a child’s best interest will always be the courts priority. It is encouraged that child custody be resolved outside of the courts through a mediator to allow both parents to come to a mutual agreement. When both parents are unable to come to an agreement the courts will become involved and may award one of the following types of custody depending on what is best for the child.
Physical and Legal Custody
Physical custody is when one parent is awarded the right to live with the child for most of the time. Physical custody is the type of custody that is most often awarded. However, the court may award joint legal custody with the other parent who is not awarded Physical custody. Legal custody allows the parent who is not awarded Physical custody to join in the decisions about the child’s religion, education, health care and other important factors in the child upbringing.
Joint custody is when a child spends an equal amount of time with both parents. This type of custody arrangement allows the child to spend time with both parents. In a joint custody situation, both parents require a high degree of cooperation and understanding in order to demonstrate the ability to make joint decisions together for the sake of the child. Some courts are reluctant to order joint custody due to the fact that the parents cannot come to an agreement with one another. Critics, however, say that it is best for the child to have one home base, with liberal visitation allowed to the “non-custodial” parent.
A much less favored option is split custody. This is where one parent has custody of one or more of the parties’ children, and the other parent has custody of the other(s). Courts usually prefer not to separate siblings, however, when issuing custody orders.
In a situation when the child’s parents are unmarried, most state statues require that the mother be awarded sole physical custody unless the father takes action to be awarded custody. If the mother is a good parent, an unwed father often cannot win custody, but he will usually enjoy a visitation or parenting plan, with priority over other relatives, foster parents, or prospective adoptive parents.
The custody arrangement of your children is too important to do alone. Contact the compassionate and dedicated Child Custody Lawyers at the Law Office of Heath L. Baker to fight for you in court. Call us today at 951-222-2228.