One of the most significant decisions during a divorce is deciding on the custody arrangement for your children. While this may sound straightforward, it can quickly become complicated and overwhelming.
Parents want the best for their children but may struggle to determine what that is amid a divorce or separation. Understanding the options available and how your final decisions may impact your child is important.
Georgia has four types of child custody to consider. Read to learn more about four important terms you should know:
1. Joint custody
As the name suggests, joint custody grants both parents equal legal and physical custody of the child. The child spends equal time with each parent, and both parents have an equal say in significant decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. Joint custody requires a high level of cooperation and communication between the parents.
2. Sole custody
Sole custody is where one parent is granted physical and legal custody of the child. This arrangement is typically granted when one parent is deemed unfit or incapable of caring for the child or when the parents cannot agree on custody arrangements. The non-custodial parent may still be granted visitation rights but will not have any decision-making authority regarding the child’s welfare.
3. Physical custody
Physical custody addresses where the child will live day-to-day. Physical custody can be joint or solely granted to one parent. The parent granted physical custody is then the custodial parent, while the other has visitation rights. The visitation schedule may vary depending on the parents’ schedules and the child’s needs.
4. Legal custody
Legal custody addresses a parent’s right to decide things about their child’s upbringing, such as education, medical care and religious practices. Both parents generally have the right to decide about the child’s welfare, even if the child lives primarily with one parent. Parents may require mediation or court intervention to resolve disputes in case of disagreements. If sole legal custody is granted over an issue, then one parent has full control over that area of concern.
Establishing child custody arrangements following a divorce is emotional. Thankfully, it can be easier with the right information and experienced legal guidance.