Physical child custody refers to which parent the child is living with for most of the time. In divorce, many courts now tend to award parents joint child custody, unless it's proven joint custody would not be in the best interest of the child.
Parents with physical child custody are responsible for making everyday decisions about the child’s life. If parents share physical custody, each parent is allowed to make decisions on the child's behalf during his or her scheduled time without any interference by the other parent.
Joint custody can be disruptive to the child’s education, social relationships and mental health. If the parents aren’t good at resolving disputes, joint child custody can often cause tension and fights between parents.
Divorce courts may award sole child custody with generous child visitation rights to the noncustodial parent. This can help protect the child’s relationship with each parent and give both parents the opportunity to play a significant role in raising the child. A custody and child visitation schedule may be developed by the parents and approved by the court. If the parents are unable to agree on a custody and child visitation schedule, the divorce court will create one.
When neither parent is capable of effective parenting as determined by the court, the court may award a court-appointed guardian, foster parent or grandparent child custody. Whether or not the court has such discretion, and the extent of that discretion, depends on the divorce laws in your state.
Having the right to physical child custody can help you protect your relationship with your child after divorce. A local divorce lawyer knows the divorce laws in your state and how each may affect your divorce and child custody arrangements. Talk with a local divorce attorney by calling 877-349-1310 or filling out a divorce case review form.
The above synopsis of child custody is by no means all-inclusive and is not intended to provide legal advice. These laws may have changed since our last update and there may additional laws that apply in your situation. For the latest information on divorce laws, please contact a local divorce lawyer in your area.