Understanding Child Custody


Understanding Child Custody

We know that divorce is never easy, for the separating adults, but especially so for the children. When it comes to determining custody, here at Baker & Harris Law, we’ll do what we can to present you with the options that will be in the best interest of your children.

 Types of Child Custody

Physical Custody

If you plan to have your child live with you the majority or half the time, you’ll petition for physical custody. If you and your ex-spouse live close, and it’s not too disruptive, you can arrange which week, weekends or holidays your child will spend time with each parent.

Legal Custody

This allows the parent(s) of the child to make legal decisions, as to the education, health, and general wellbeing of their child.

Joint Custody

This allows each parent to share in the responsibilities of rearing their child. Parents can participate in joint physical custody, joint legal custody or joint physical and legal custody. You can decide together how to best care for your child, or with the help of your attorney create an arrangement that is fair for both parties. If an agreement can’t be met, a family judge can determine what is best for the child.

Sole Custody

If you feel that you should be the sole parent that has responsibility for your child, you’ll need to petition and provide evidence that your ex isn’t in a position to properly care and provide for the needs of your child. If you receive sole custody, you can then determine if you’ll allow visitation rights to your ex. As your attorney, we can help draft an arrangement that is specific to your situation and is best for your child.

Guardianship (Non-Parental Child Custody)

This is a petition provided to the court, typically filed by a grandparent, aunt or uncle, sibling or close family friend if they wish to seek custody or guardianship. This petition requires the reasons the individual is seeking guardianship, their relationship to the child and additional information, that will help the court determine a decision. Traditionally a copy of the petition is presented to the child’s parent(s) if they’re still present and their whereabouts are known.

Whatever you, your ex or the court decides in terms of child custody. It’s important to keep your child’s best interest at heart. Too often, children feel like they are caught in the middle and don’t understand why their life is changing so dramatically. No matter your reason for separating from your spouse, don’t use your child as a tool to hurt the other person. Dependent on your new living situation, you want to provide the best opportunity to your child to have a stable life and easy transition.

At Baker & Harris  Law, we are experienced in the complexities of family law. We’ll be able to establish a parenting plan that will stipulate your custody arrangement, including the decision-making rights and responsibilities of each parent. As your attorney, we’ll work with you to determine the best course of action based on your situation and the well-being of your child.

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