Child Custody Choices

Posted on: 8 November 2019

For those who haven't been paying much attention to divorce and custody issues, it may come as a surprise how many choices parents have now. Custody decisions are best made when both parents are on the same page — otherwise, the court might end up making the decision for you. With so many choices in mind, take a look at the list of common custody variations below. You, your spouse, and your child will continue to be affected by decisions made now for many years, so careful consideration is necessary. Read on to learn more.

Legal Responsibility

Custody is not just about where the child resides but about which parent is in charge of making major decisions. Those can be two separate responsibilities or one parent can do both. This is an area of custody that sometimes confuses parents. In most cases, both parents equally share the legal responsibility for the child. That means that regardless of which parent the child lives with, both parents are expected to work together when it comes to:

  • Education choices, such as which school to attend and being involved in the child's day-to-day learning.
  • Religion choices, such as what religion, if any, the child will be involved in.
  • Discipline choices, such as rules, punishment, curfew, etc.
  • Residence choices, such as where to live. Even if only one parent has custody of the child, the non-custodial parent may still have a say if the time comes to move the child far away.
  • Healthcare choices, such as dealing with illnesses, vaccinations, etc.

Physical Responsibility

When it comes to where the child will reside, there are many choices:

  1. Joint custody is somewhat of a misnomer. The word "joint" refers to legal responsibility and not physical. With joint custody, one parent is provided with visitation and the other parent retains physical custody the remainder of the time. This is the traditional method that ends up being the choice of most parents.
  2.  Shared or 50/50 custody endeavors to make things more fair by splitting the child's time roughly equally between the parents. Time can be divided in any manner the parents see fit, but they must decide before the divorce is final.
  3. Bird's nesting custody is a fairly recent development and may not be for everyone. The child is the one who remains in one home while the parents move in and out on a set schedule. The rest of the time, the parent lives elsewhere.

Speak to an attorney who can help you make a good child custody decision based on your family's unique characteristics.

For more information, contact a local child custody attorney such as those at Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC.