Getting a divorce as a parent can be hard on you and your children. One of the most defining moments in the divorce process that can affect your relationship with your children in the future is your child custody arrangement. Child custody decides each parent’s responsibility and right to raise their children. Deciding what a parent is obligated to do is determined through legal and physical custody.
Legal custody is a parent’s right to decide their child’s upbringing. This means a parent can decide where their child goes to school, what they are allowed to eat, if they go to a religious function or if they undergo medical procedures. Physical custody is a parent’s responsibility to maintain their child’s daily routine, such as their clothing, meals and residence.
As you consider the future with your children and the ongoing relationship with their other parent, you may need to ask yourself a few questions. Here’s what you should know:
1. Can I still work with my ex-spouse for the benefit of my children?
The courts often believe that both parents should still be involved in their child’s life after a divorce. Parents who work together and share custody may have a joint custody arrangement. Joint custody means that parents may work together to decide what’s best for their children and split days where their child will live.
This may work for you if you and your ex-spouse can still agree on what’s best for your child. Conversely, if your divorce was caused by communication issues and parenting differences, then you may need to discuss your options.
2. Is my ex-spouse fit to be a parent?
Alternatively, one parent may have sole custody. Sole custody is less common, these days, but it may be necessary if a parent is neglectful or abusive or an endangerment to their child. It’s important to understand, however, that even when a parent has sole physical or legal custody (or both), the other parent may still have some limited visitation.
Knowing what the right option is for your child isn’t an easy choice. You may need to reach out for legal help as you plan out a child custody arrangement.