Brooklyn Child Custody Lawyers
A concerned parent who is preparing for litigation regarding child-related issues will want to learn as much as he or she can ahead of time to be able to make informed decisions and protect the interests of his or her child. Child custody is a broad term that refers to numerous issues, some of which are quite complex and difficult to resolve, especially if the two parents involved disagree on what’s for their children.
Understand the different types of custody
Perhaps you’re considering filing for divorce, which means you and your spouse must resolve child custody issues in order to achieve a settlement. Then again, you and your child’s other parent might never have been married but are asking the court to make decisions regarding custody of your son or daughter. The following list shows the basic types of child custody followed by a brief explanation of each:
- Physical custody
- Legal custody
- Joint custody
- Sole custody
The more you learn about each of these types of child custody, the better able you might be to protect your parental rights and determine a course of action in a specific set of circumstances.
Physical custody refers to place of residence
If the court is making decisions about your child’s physical custody, it means that the judge overseeing your case is going to determine with which parent the child should live. Depending on the age of your child, the judge might discuss the issue with him or her to ask if he or she would prefer to live with one or the other parent.
A parent who is granted decision-making authority has legal custody
Whereas physical custody refers to your child’s place of residence, legal custody is the authority to make decisions on behalf of a child. Such decisions might include matters of education, health care, faith, relocation or other important life issues. If both parents have legal custody, they must consult with one another and achieve an agreement before decisions are made.
The court typically believes that joint custody is
Another term for joint custody is “shared” custody. In most cases, family court judges agree that children fare , especially after divorce, in shared custody situations. You and your co-parent can share physical and/or legal custody. If you have joint physical custody of your child, it means that he or she will alternate living between two households. Shared legal custody means that you and your ex have equal decision-making authority. It’s possible to have joint physical custody while only one parent has legal custody. It’s also possible to share legal custody while one parent has full, physical custody.
Sole custody is often granted when one parent is deemed unfit
You may believe that your children would be better off if you were to have sole custody of them. This means that you would have both physical and legal custody while your ex, perhaps, receives visitation privileges. In many cases, particularly if a noncustodial parent has been deemed a detriment to the children’s well-being, the court may restrict visits to supervised visits only or may rule that a parent is not allowed to see his or children at all. If you request sole custody of your kids on the grounds that you believe their other parent is unfit, you will be tasked with providing evidence to the court to substantiate your allegations.
Resolving child custody issues
Divorce isn’t easy, but it need not ruin children’s lives. Although many child custody issues are complex and challenging to resolve, it is often possible to come to an agreement in an amicable fashion. If you and your co-parent are both willing to cooperate and compromise for the sake of your kids, you increase the chances of achieving a fair and agreeable child custody settlement. It is just as important for unmarried parents to be willing to work as a team when attempting to resolve physical or legal custody issues.
Child support is part of child custody proceedings
The court often issues a child support order as part of custody proceedings, although not every custody case involves child support issues. Whether or not a parent should pay child support, how much such payments should be and how a parent should submit such payments is left to the discretion of the court.
Every state has its own child custody guidelines
Each state governs child custody issues according to its own guidelines, which is another reason why a parent preparing for a custody hearing will want to discuss his or her case with someone who is well-versed in this area of law. Once a court order has been issued, both parents are required to adhere to its terms unless and until the court modifies the order.