Child Custody in a Divorce: What You Need to Know

Child Custody in a Divorce: What You Need to Know

The divorce rate in America has declined from 4.7 per 1,000 residents in 1997 to 2.3 per 1,000 residents in 2020. This is quite a positive trend; however, divorces are still happening, and custody battles are still ongoing throughout the United States.

If you are going through a divorce, there are many things to consider that can easily overwhelm you. One of those is child custody, but it doesn’t have to be as scary as you think.

We’ve compiled a simple guide to help explain the basics of the child custody process, so keep reading below for all you need to know.

Physical Custody vs Legal Custody

Before determining what kind of custody request you want to make, it’s essential to understand the difference between physical custody and legal custody.

The rules and laws regarding legal and physical custody vary between states, so it is wise to hire an attorney that can help explain everything thoroughly, ensuring you the best possible outcome.

Physical Custody

When you have physical custody, you have the right to have the child live with you. Physical custody concerns the daily care of the child, determining where they will live and be.

When one parent has primary physical custody, either with full custody or sole custody, they are the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent will then have visitation rights.

Legal Custody

Legal custody awards a parent the right to make decisions involving the child’s upbringing. If you have legal custody, you have an obligation to make decisions about the child’s education, religion, medical care, and general welfare.

Legal custody is often given to both parents, being joint-legal custody, though it can also be given as sole legal custody if one parent is unfit.

How Child Custody Is Established

Nobody wants to be involved in a difficult child custody battle, and there are ways to avoid it when possible.

The most ideal situation occurs when the parents can come to an agreement out of court. This can be done with legal help, such as with proceedings like mediation. Or, the parents can try to solve the problem by themselves.

If this doesn’t work, the decision will be made in family court. Here, the judge will take into account different elements and make a decision based on the child’s best interest. This includes the parent’s ability to provide for the kid, their lifestyle, the parent’s health, the child’s age, and the child’s preference.

If your custody battle goes to court, hiring a family lawyer, like at can help keep things in order. They can take care of the more difficult and sensitive parts to reduce tension and stress levels.

Look Into Hiring a Family Attorney

Dealing with child custody in a divorce can be very stressful, but you’ve taken the first step by getting to know the process a bit better. Every situation is unique, but the legal process remains the same.

Now you can move forward and start making decisions to determine what is right for you and your family, such as potentially hiring a family attorney.

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