The custody of the kids is often the single most contentious issue in a divorce. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of rumors and exaggerated stories floating around about custody and parenting rights that can leave people feeling very confused. If people don’t understand their rights and the law regarding parenting and custody, they’ll have a hard time standing up for themselves.
Quite a few people don’t know that there are actually two kinds of custody that the courts have to allocate to the parents in a divorce. Knowing the role of both of these kinds of child custody can help you push for the best possible outcome if you get divorced.
The custody you probably think about is physical custody
When most parents seek to assert their parental rights, the primary concern is typically securing an adequate amount of parenting time. The time where you have custody of your children and provide care for them in person is physical custody.
Getting a fair share of physical custody can ensure that you play a prominent role in the lives of your kids and that you and your ex each contribute to their needs and development. The courts will look at factors such as the pre-existing relationship between the parents of the children, the jobs of the parents and even their current housing arrangements when deciding how to split parenting time or physical custody between divorcing parents.
Getting a fair share of legal custody is also important
Just spending time with your children is only one part of your parental role. You also have to make decisions on behalf of your kids, ranging from what schools they attend to how many extracurricular activities you will allow them to participate in during the school year.
Legal custody is the decision-making authority that parents hold over their kids. It is common for the courts to split legal custody between parents in a shared custody outcome. However, if one parent has substantially more physical custody, the courts may award them primary legal custody as well if the other parent does not ask for their share of decision-making authority.
Although it can be hard to reach an agreement with your ex on a parenting issue that you don’t see eye-to-eye on, shared legal custody helps ensure that both parents guide their child’s development after a divorce. Asserting your right to and interest in both kinds of custody can help you push for a favorable custody outcome.