Child Custody: What Do Parents Need to Know?

Divorce is a sensitive subject that can be hard to deal with for everyone involved; however, it's important to consider any involved children. If you're considering divorce, make sure you understand your options and responsibilities when it comes to child custody.

You've thought about the legal ramifications, the financial impact, and the emotional struggle that can accompany divorce, but have you considered how child custody can affect your life and the lives of your children? For many adults, the decision to get divorced is something that can be incredibly painful and frustrating to deal with. When children are involved, things can be even more complicated. It's important to communicate as clearly as possible during this time with your partner, your children, and your attorney so that you can move forward in a way that is beneficial for everyone involved. Here's what you need to know.

There are different types of custody

It's important to understand that custody arrangements aren't created equal, nor are they all the same. There are different types of custody and these can each impact both your life and your child's life in different ways. Most parents are familiar with physical custody. This type of custody states where the child will live. In some cases, parents will share physical custody of the child. The child might live with one parent during the week and the other on the weekend. In some families, the child will live with one parent for half of a week and the other parent for the other half. The other type of custody is legal custody. If a parent has legal custody of a child, it means they have a say in how the child is raised and in legal and medical decisions for that child. If you have sole physical custody of your child, for example, your partner might have a say in the legal side of raising your child.

Custody arrangements can change

Your child will grow and change, and as they grow up, their desires and needs will change, too. Because of this, remember that custody arrangements aren't always permanent. It's possible for custody arrangements to change as your child grows. For example, even if you and your partner share custody, your child may want to live with one parent full-time, especially if your child develops friendships or joins a sports team close to that parents' house. Aim to be understanding about your child's desires and to put them first at all times. While divorce can be emotional, remember that you should aim to minimize the impact on your youngster's life as much as possible.

Your child's opinion matters

If your child is old enough to understand what is happening in the divorce, they're old enough to have opinions. Try to listen to what your child has to say. They might prefer to live with one parent full-time. They might want shared custody. They might not know what they want. Sit down with your child and your partner and have an honest talk about the changes that are going to occur and how they can affect your child. You might be surprised at what your child's wishes are.

Your lawyer can help you understand your specific custody arrangements and options even more clearly. Make sure you reach out to your attorney as soon as possible so you can get the help you need to start making decisions about your child's custody arrangements. Your lawyer wants to help you and your family members have the best possible outcome from the divorce, so don't wait to ask for the help you need.