What are my rights if I have physical and legal child custody?
If you are deciding to get a divorce and you have children, you might be thinking about your child custody rights. Child custody in a divorce case can be complicated as both spouses can struggle to compromise on a settlement. Child support may also intertwine with the custody agreements as sometimes one spouse requires more income to manage the lifestyle of a single parent.
Child custody arrangements
During a divorce case, there are a few types of child custody that can be arranged. One kind is called physical custody. When a guardian has physical custody of a child, it means that the child is allowed to live with that parent. If you and your spouse have joint physical custody, this usually entails an equal amount of time for each parent with the child and is more manageable when the parents live within proximity to one another. However, if a partner is granted visitation time, the other parent may have sole physical custody where the child primarily resides with one parent and the other has scheduled time.
Legal custody of your child
Another form of custody is having legal custody of your child. In comparison to physical custody, legal custody grants the parents the right to make decisions about the child’s education, religion, and medical plans. If you and your partner have joint legal custody, you are both given this responsibility. If one parent is excluded from the decision process at any point and has joint custody, then that parent can take the other back to court to enforce the original settlement. The consequences are not severe, but can be embarrassing and expensive if you have to bring your divorce attorney with you again.
If you want sole legal custody of your child, you may have to convince the judge that the other parent is not suitable in raising your child. In these cases, the parent generally has experienced communicative issues with their spouse or has been involved in an abusive relationship. Often the divorce court will not be reluctant to award one parent sole physical custody if the other parent is seen as unfit, such as having alcohol or drug abuse problems, or has been charged with child abuse or neglect.
Sole physical custody
If one parent is given sole physical custody, the other parent may still have joint legal custody and a liberal visitation schedule. Although you may be at odds with your spouse at this time, it might be a good idea to allow joint custody, unless the other parent could potentially harm your child.
If parents share joint custody, they usually try to work out a schedule that fits with both their work shifts and housing arrangements. If the parents struggle to come up with an agreement then the court judge may step in and set one up for them. Some possible arrangements include splitting weeks, alternating for a few months or even planning weekend and holidays with one while the other has custodial rights during the weekdays.
Some of the advantages of joint custody include relieving some of the parental burden and giving the child the opportunity to still see both parents. However, joint custody also forces the child to be shifted around frequently and if one parent does not cooperate, it can often lead to negative consequences for the child. In addition, the expense of maintaining two separate homes can be expensive. In any case, it might be best to speak with a divorce lawyer for legal help and to discuss what you think is best for your family.
Getting Spousal Support after a Divorce
Is it possible to get my ex spouse’s future earnings? If you feel that you have been taking care of your child and are entitled to some spousal support, you might want to speak with a divorce lawyer about your options. In some cases, you may even have been the spouse to support your partner while they were going to school or pursuing a career. Are you entitled to your spouse’s earnings they make as part of being a recent investor in their future?
Spousal support is not always an entitlement to your spouse in a divorce. If you can prove hardship without some support, especially with children involved, then you might be able to get your spouse’s earnings. A divorce attorney can help you establish whether you may or may not be entitled to spousal support.