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What can I expect from the child custody process?

There are many aspects of a child custody arrangement that must be worked out between divorcing parents. To develop a child custody agreement, parents will have to agree on legal and physical custody of their child and must remain focused on what is in the best interests of the child.

Best interests of the child

If the parents are unable to agree on child custody, a court may help develop an arrangement. Courts decide child custody issues on a number of factors. Ultimately, the most important factor is the court’s interpretation of what move is in the best interests of the child.

Physical and legal custody

There are generally two different types of child custody: physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child lives and who the child lives with. Legal custody refers to who makes important decisions for the child. Decisions that are considered significant include those that concern the child’s education, religious upbringing and medical care.

Each type of child custody, physical and legal custody, can be awarded as jointly or solely. In a joint physical custody situation, the child shares time at the homes of two parents. In a sole physical custody situation, the child primarily lives with one parent. Even in these situations, the other parent generally has rights to visitation.

Joint legal custody looks like the parents working together to make major decisions for the child, while sole legal custody allows one parent to make those decisions on their own for the child.

Whether the arrangement is made by the parents or by the court, the deciding factor must always be the best interest of the child.

Legal guidance for parents

When parents understand how the child custody process plays out, they can be better prepared to resolve child custody issues. Call McGuire, Aziz & Associates, at 732-704-7331 for a free consultation about child custody or other divorce-related concerns.