If you have plans to seek child custody, make sure you know what type of custody you want. In simple terms, child custody is essentially an umbrella term that is intended to encompass a variety of different arrangements. Before you begin this legal process, make sure you have a good idea of what form of custody you are seeking.
One of the more commonly discussed forms of child custody is physical custody. In short, physical custody is a legal ruling establishing the physical placement of the child. For example, who will the child live with? Who will be in charge of the child's daily care? Typically, the person who obtains physical custody will oversee these determinations.
As you might imagine, physical custody is not easy to obtain. The court will put the requesting parent under a great deal of scrutiny because they will largely be responsible for all the child's needs, which is an important role.
A less commonly discussed form of child custody is legal custody. Legal custody is less about having physical possession of the child and more about being a person of authority in all decision-making processes that involve the child.
A parent with legal custody would be able to determine where the child can go to school, the type of medical treatment they receive, and even where they can travel. Although it is common for the parent with physical custody to also have legal custody, it is not always the case. So, if you are not seeking physical custody, but you want legal custody, there is a pathway for you.
Sole vs. Joint Custody Distinction
It is also important to note that there is a distinction between sole custody and joint custody, no matter what pathway you choose. Take legal custody, for example. An individual can have sole legal custody of a child, which means they make all the decisions regarding the child, or they can have joint custody, which requires both parents to agree on decisions.
Which option is best for you depends on your dynamic. However, it is important to note that to obtain sole custody, the court will sometimes require that you prove the other parent is unfit to have any form of custody, which can be a complex process.
Learning about the different forms of child custody can feel overwhelming, but remember, you do not have to sort everything out on your own. When you meet with your attorney, you can discuss your expectations and your attorney will help you determine which path is best for you.
Reach out to a firm such as Mobile Divorce Law Firm to find out more.