The health and welfare of children is very much on the minds of most divorcing parents. Whether they agree to custody and visitation arrangements or it's ordered by the judge, the orders must be respected by both parties going forward. Unfortunately, legal provisions set out in a divorce decree about children are based on emotional issues and can be one of the most difficult parts of a divorce. Read on to find out more about child custody and visitation issues and how they may be resolved.
What to Know About Child Custody in General
Two types of custody are recognized in most places – legal and physical. Legal custody means that both parents are equally responsible for making major decisions when it comes to important matters like religion, education, discipline, health, and more. The parents are expected to work together to parent the child – regardless of the divorce. Physical custody, on the other hand, is all about where the child primarily resides. One type of custody, 50/50, or shared custody, has the child going back and forth between the two parents on a regular basis. The other common physical custody choice is joint custody. This usually means that one parent retains full physical custody of the child. The other parent, however, retains visitation privileges and those privileges are set forth in a visitation schedule.
When Custody is Contentious
Physical custody is based on doing what is right for the child and not necessarily for the parent. Most parents want to do the right thing for their child. Unfortunately, divorcing parents are human and are frequently affected by vengeance, jealousy, bitterness, and other negative issues and that can affect custody and visitation plans. To ensure a better outcome, parents have to be aware of how the courts view parenting privileges. With that in mind, here are some tips for custodial and non-custodial parents:
- Don't remove access to the child for the non-custodial parent for any reason and don't discard a visitation plan. If a serious issue arises and you believe your child to be in danger, contact your child custody attorney right away for advice. However, being behind on child support is not a reason to disobey visitation orders.
- Don't speak of the other parent in a negative or disparaging manner.
- Keep the lines of communication open and share important information about the child's life with the other parent.
If problems arise with custody or visitation arrangements, don't take things into your own hands. Speak to your divorce lawyer about scheduling hearings and bring your issues before the judge.