Getting a divorce and in turn engaging an experienced divorce lawyer can be a messy business and where children are concerned, it tends to become even more sensitive. A longitudinal study was conducted by Wallerstein et al. in this regard. They interviewed adult children of divorced parents and discovered that all of them still carried some negative effect of their parent’s divorce, which had instilled a fear of relationships and commitment among them.
This tells us that no child is able to completely cope with their parents’ divorce; therefore, legal matters regarding child custody should be handled seriously and carefully to avoid the damaging psychological impact.
Types of Child Custody
The decision of the court is made considering the child’s best interest, their age and their preference towards a certain parent. Although there is no set time limit, in most places, for a child to put forward their choice, the court can make a decision if the child is unable to do so. Asking your child to make a choice between the two of you is forbidden, not just legally, but also because it gives birth to emotional instability within the child. Professional therapists or counsellors are generally hired for asking such questions.
Visitation rights also come into account while drafting the custody agreement. At times, many parents do decide among themselves about the custody of the child but in most cases, the court decides the arrangement, which is in the child’s best interest. The different types of custodies are categorized below:
Legal custody is where the court decides which parent will be taking decisions regarding the child’s education, health, and overall well-being. This custody can either be separate, given to an individual parent; or joint, letting both parents decide the child’s future together. The decision usually depends on how well the parents get along with one another.
This custody is based on where the child will live. In primary physical custody, the child lives with one parent and the other one has shared rights and responsibilities. On the other hand, shared physical custody allows the child to live with both the parents for a particular division of time; days, weeks, or months respectively.
The last type of physical custody is split physical custody in which if the separated or divorced couple has two children, they can split them up among each other so that one lives with the father and other one with the mother.
Joint Legal and Physical Custody
Under this bargain, decision making rights as well as living arrangements are equally distributed between both the parents.
Sole custody refers to giving complete decision-making power regarding tutoring, religion, well-being, and other important aspect of the child’s life to a single parent with whom the child resides as well.
The court usually grants joint custody but in situations where one parent is unstable; physically, mentally, or emotionally; sole custody is preferred. This also considers other factors; is one parent abusive, been to prison for a serious crime, or unemployed and unable to care for the child.
When deciding on shared custody, you should also keep in mind that the expenses of the child will also be equally divided between both parents. These expenses include schooling fee, medical bills, and charges for food, clothing, and all the other necessities. For that purpose, proper legal terms should be stated by both the parties so that they receive child support on time.
If You don’t want your child’s well-being to be affected because of your own problems and want to avoid the long lasting traumatic impact it will have on your child, you need to be empathetic and make decisions with compassion, even if that means compromising and discussing things with your ex prior to finalizing them.