When going through a divorce, the courts expect you to try to work out a fair custody plan. In some cases, the judge may even order the two of you into mediation. The court knows emotions run high when deciding on this topic. But, the judge would like to see the two of you to work out an agreement that is good for everyone involved. If communication is an issue, he or she may order you into mediation to work everything out.

If you cannot come to an agreement together, the court will make these decisions for you. It is important to keep this in mind. The judge cares about one thing and that is the children. Their decision will be equal and fair for the child. They are not concerned with the parents in the matter. You were given the opportunity to cooperate with each other and work something out. Since you could not manage that, you will now have to work around the choices the court gave you.

What Is Joint Custody?

When parents have joint custody, they decide together where their child will go to school, what religion they will be taught, and everything else. They communicate and stand united on the decisions they make. The child is held to the same standards, no matter where they are or who they are with.

This is the preferred choice for the courts and for the parents. You divorced each other, not the child. So, keeping the child’s life as normal as possible is best for them. However, if you cannot come to an agreement without arguing and fighting, the court will make the decision for you.

What Is Physical Custody?

Physical custody determines who the child lives with. It does not mean the other parent will not have visitation rights. In some cases, physical custody may be given to a person that is not the parent. For example, if the parent abused or neglected the child, or if the parents are in jail, the grandparents or other family members may be awarded physical custody. Anyone facing this situation should contact an attorney, to ensure the custodian understands their rights and any stipulations imposed.

According to our child custody and visitation attorneys, it is not uncommon for the courts to award physical custody to one parent and joint legal custody to the other. This means the child lives with one parent and has visitation with the other. However, both parents must work out the ways the child is raised together.

Sole Custody

It is less common for a judge to award sole custody to one parent. Sole custody means the child will live with and be under the control of one parent. This happens a lot when there is a history of abuse or drugs in the family home.

As you can see, there are many kinds of custody at the discretion. Before you go to court, try very hard to communicate with your ex-partner on this topic. You are the parents, and you can come up with a schedule and agreement that works if you try. A child custody and visitation lawyer can help, too.