Figuring out how to divide years’ or even decades’ worth of assets can certainly make the divorce process tricky. However, if you and your future ex have young children, trying to decide how you will handle child custody can be just as difficult, if not more so.
In many divorce cases involving child custody, the problem is that both parents lack an understanding of what their legal rights and options are when it comes to who cares for the children. Here is a look at what child custody involves following a divorce proceeding in Florida.
Legal and physical custody
Two types of child custody that exist following a divorce are legal custody and physical custody. If you have legal custody of your children, this means that you can make decisions concerning their education, health care and religion, for example. Meanwhile, if you have physical custody of the children, your children will live mostly with you.
In a number of situations, the court will give one parent physical custody of the children. However, even if a judge grants you physical custody, the other parent could still share legal custody of the children with you.
Joint and split custody
Joint and split custody are two other noteworthy forms of custody. With joint custody, your children would spend a relatively equal quantity of time with you and the other party. The benefit of this option is that your children may not feel more connected to one parent than to the other one. However, the disadvantage is that the children would not necessarily have a single home base.
Along the same lines, split custody — where one child may live with you while the other child lives with the other parent — offers the advantage of allowing both parents to primarily care for a child. On the flip side, courts generally prefer not to split up siblings following divorce. All in all, it may be better for all of the children to live with one parent and then allow the other parent to enjoy liberal visitation with the children.
How does a judge make a child custody decision?
A judge takes several factors into consideration when deciding which parent will receive custody of the children. These factors include, for example, your children’s wishes, your and the other parent’s physical and mental health, and how old the children are.
However, if you and the other parent can come up with your own parenting agreement outside of court, you can avoid further court intrusion. A judge will simply need to review and approve your agreement, which should not be a problem as long as you have focused on what is in the best interests of the children long term.