Going through a divorce is something that is never easy to do. Even when it is the best thing for a couple to do, the process of divorcing involves so much, from all of the emotions to the legal matters, which could be very challenging and confusing 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. For sure, beyond just the happiness of the couple being divorced, the present and future health, well-being, and security of the children should then take priority within a divorce.
The legal family court system is the venue where the status of child custody is determined. Even in cases that are not so contentious or filled with conflict, there are still many things that must be considered in relation to the children’s well-being and safety. A major consideration will always be the lives, livelihoods, and lifestyles of both parents, and this all may even be examined in 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.
Though there is a federal standard, each state, and even each county in a state, may have its own distinct guidelines, procedures, and methods for managing child custody cases. However, the majority of cases are given a resolution of sole custody, joint custody, visitation, or supervised visitation. Sole custody is the resolution determining that, due to all of the factors considered, it is best for only one parent to have legal custody of the children. The visitation resolution is similar, in that the children live within the custody of one parent, but the other parent is granted a certain amount of visitation time to spend with their children. 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.
With joint custody resolutions, there is sometimes a distinction made between joint physical custody or 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, it may be determined that only one parent as permitted to make certain decisions on behalf of the children, even with joint physical custody. The term joint legal custody is most often used in these cases.
When handling child custody cases, the parents should always focus primarily on the health and well-being of their children, both in the present and in the future.