divorce, you have to consider what is going to be best for your children. This
is echoed strongly when setting up
child custody agreements. To avoid some huge conflicts down the line, it helps to know some of
the determining factors of child custody orders now.
To begin, there are two types of child custody:
Legal: This is a parent’s right to make decisions for their children and
regarding their children’s upbringing. For example, if you want
to raise your child Catholic or send them to a particular school, you
need to have legal custody rights to do so.
Physical: This is a parent’s right to live with and house their child, as
in the physical location of their domicile. It is often more difficult
to gain physical custody than legal custody.
You need to consider what type of custody do you want or think you deserve?
And how much of that custody would you like? While sometimes it is best
for one parent to get 100% of physical custody rights, such as in a case
domestic violence, the court tends to try to split it 50-50.
There are two types of custody responsibilities:
Full: If you gain full custody, your ex-spouse gets none at all. Any interaction
with your child, physical or legal, must be approved by you or the court.
Joint: This just means sharing custody to some degree, but usually breaks down
to 50% each. For example, a 50-50 joint physical custody would probably
be simplified into a plan that has your children living with you one week
and your ex-spouse the next, ensuring they have equal shared living opportunities
with both of you.
Of course, you should also consider that you don’t have to file for
full custody for yourself. If you know that your job requires you to move
around often, or if you don’t have a steady source of income, you
can ask your ex-spouse to accept full physical custody of the children.
This surrender of responsibility is not common for legal custody, however,
as that indicates you do not believe yourself to be capable of making
the right decisions for your children.
In the end, no matter what type of custody you want to fight for and how
much responsibility you think you should have, you need to always remember
that your kids come first. Every determining factor the court views will
be balanced against this notion, so thinking this way from the start can
steer you away from delays and pitfalls. Another way to make this process
easier is retaining the services of R. Gregory Colvin LLC and our Orlando
family law attorney. Call
407.603.3460 to reach a team with more than 25 years of divorce law experience.