The ultimate goal of child placement after divorce is whatever is in the best interests of the child. Maintaining a close and consistent relationship with both parents is important for children. Most state laws provide that where the spouses had a child together during their marriage, their parental rights upon divorce are presumed equal.
Custody has two components – legal and physical. Legal custody involves the parental decision making role – public or private school, braces, what religion. Physical custody involves actual supervision of the child and having the child with you. Joint legal custody is the usual arrangement ordered by the courts – it requires the parents to work together in making decisions affecting the child. Normally, courts will award one parent primary physical custody. That parent is the one the Court finds was the primary caretaker for the child while the parties were together. If the parents were both actively involved in the life of the child they can agree on a shared physical custody arrangement which allows the parents to split time with the child.
If you are engaged in a custody dispute, it is crucial that you obtain legal representation. We urge you to call our family law attorney, Rick Offutt, for a consultation.