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Child Custody - Making Arrangements Work

Not all marriages end in happily ever afters. In fact, some studies have concluded that the number of divorces is growing at an alarming rate. Divorce is a trying time not just the separating spouses, but also the children (if any) born during the marriage. Child custody arrangements are probably the most difficult and demanding aspect of any divorce. Concerned parents will do their best to keep their children away from the almost inevitable arguments that will ensue as a result of the divorce. Keeping what's best for the kids in mind while going through the proceedings and making decisions about custody will help make the transition easier on everyone involved.

The first thing you should do when you know divorce is imminent is to seek out legal counsel. Hiring an attorney will help you to minimize unnecessary arguments, especially if the divorce is an ugly one. You can let your attorney deal with many of the aspects of the divorce finalization and he or she can help you get the best possible child custody arrangements for your situation. There is plenty of legalese involved in who is awarded custody and how. And there are also old stigmas that may need to be dealt with like gender bias. A seasoned attorney, experienced in divorce proceeding, will be able to help you around many problems and may even have had experience with the judge over the case which may give insight on how to proceed.

Child Custody Arrangements Explained In Detail

Child custody arrangements can come in a variety of forms depending on the jurisdiction, circumstances and other factors.

  • Sole Custody - One parent has legal custodial rights over a child's welfare, medical, religious and educational needs. The child lives with the custodial parent, but a court may grant visitation rights to the non-custodial parent. The court will usually order child support to be paid to the custodial parent regardless of gender.
  • Joint Custody - Both parents retain decision making abilities regarding their children's welfare, medical, religious and educational needs. There is usually a custodial parent in this case that the child lives with majority of the time. Child support may be ordered in this case following a specifically calculated formula.
  • Joint Physical Custody - Both parents equally share physical custody of the child and maintain a home in which the child can live. Parents have equal rights regarding the child's welfare, religious, medical and educational needs. In some cases, courts may order mediation to smooth out the terms of such a custody agreement.

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