Getting a divorce is never an easy experience to go through. With all of the emotions, alone, not to mention all of the legal matters, there is often a lot to the divorce process that can be pretty tough to deal with. The whole divorce process takes on even another degree of seriousness when there happens to be children involved, as their lives and futures are also being affected. Beyond just the happiness of the divorcing couple, a central priority within a divorce should certainly be the children’s present and future health, well-being, and security.
When determining the status of child custody, the matter is most often taken up in the legal family court system. Though all cases are not necessarily contentious or conflictive, there are always many things that are taken into consideration relating to the well-being and safety of the children. For both parents, their lives, livelihoods, and lifestyles will often be strongly considered, and perhaps even looked at in very close detail. The safety of the homes, their locations and distances, the children’s schooling, among other things, are other considerations that are also of great importance. Ultimately, whether they are divorcing parents or parents that are otherwise not together, the final resolution in a child custody case should always be in the absolute best interests of the children involved.
Beneath a federal standard, each state, and often each county in a state, may have distinct guidelines and procedures for handling child custody cases. However, in the majority of cases, resolutions of either sole custody, joint custody, visitation, or supervised visitation are most often given. When the resolution is sole custody, due to all of the factors that are considered, the determination is that it is best for only one parent to have legal custody of the children. Somewhat similar to sole custody, only one parent is granted custody of the children in a resolution of visitation, but this allows the other parent the privilege to visit and spend time with the children for a certain amount of time. With supervised visitation, this time that the other parent is allowed to spend with the children must also be supervised and monitored by either the custodial parent or another appointed person.
In regards to joint custody, there is the distinction of joint physical custody and joint legal custody. In general, a resolution of joint custody means that the children will be able to live with both parents, spending specific periods of time living with each. This is essentially what is meant by the phrase joint physical custody. In some cases, the courts may determine that, even with joint physical custody, only one of the parents should make certain decisions on behalf of the children. These are the instances when the term joint legal custody are used.
Parents dealing with child custody matters should always remember to keep their focus on their children’s health and well-being, both in the present and in the future.