There are two types of custody, both of which must be ruled by the court.
- Legal custody pertains to each parent’s right to make decisions about children’s upbringing, and encompasses medical care, religion, and education.
- Physical custody pertains to where children will reside, including visitation and number of overnights each parent will have, among other issues.
The court considers many factors in custody decisions. First and foremost, the court will look for who can best ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the child. As such they will look into factors that may violate or contribute to the child’s overall safety and well being, including a parent’s history of abuse, substance abuse, and parents’ willingness to cooperate with one another. The court will also evaluate older children’s wishes if they are found to be mature enough to speak to this decision.
Pursuing any divorce or separation is difficult and complex, especially when the custody of children hangs in the balance. Though the court determines custody decisions on the “best interest” of children, co-parents often disagree on what defines a child’s “best interests.” This can sometimes make legal proceedings very complicated and emotionally stressful for parents and children involved.
Mediation can be very helpful in minimizing the ugliness of a custody battle for parents and children alike. It gives both parties more of an opportunity to express what is best for the family, and can lay the groundwork for better cooperation between parents in the future, even after court proceedings have concluded.
Our lawyers are committed to helping you navigate these tense matters and pursue an outcome that will work best for you and your children.