Family & Divorce
There are many reasons why the custody of a child might need to be established or changed according to a family lawyer from our friends at Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC. Whether the parents are going through a divorce or they have decided a new best course of action for the child in question, it is important to know the specifics and rules regarding child custody in this state. This article will discuss the two different areas of child custody, which are legal custody and physical custody, so you can better understand the options you have.
To start there are two different types of child custody that must be understood before decisions can be made about custody. The first type of custody is physical custody, which determines “the right to have the child physically with you”. The second type of custody is legal custody, which is the right “to make decisions about how the child is raised and their welfare”. When it comes to physical custody of a child it is often awarded jointly meaning that both parents are able see the child in question and neither parent has the child year round. Having the child year role would constitute sole custody of the child. Sole physical custody is rarely awarded unless “the court” finds the other parent “to be unfit” to properly take care of the child. Joint custody can be awarded in two ways: “evenly” and “majority”. Even physical custody would mean that that child would spend the same amount of time with each parent, possibly spending one or two weeks at one place of residence before going to the other. An example of majority physical custody would be one parent having the child for 4 weeks out of the month while the other would only have custody on certain weekends. When physical custody is decided this way, the parent that has majority custody would be considered the “child’s primary residence”.
While discussing child custody, the most talked about is often physical custody, but this does not negate the importance of legal custody. As stated before legal custody determines who gets to make decisions regarding the child’s welfare. These decisions can revolve around the “child’s education, health, and religious upbringing”. This type of custody is very important when it comes to raising a child. While a person may not have full physical custody of the child in question, parents most often have joint custody when it comes to this aspect of it.
When it comes to having legal custody of a child, the rules are a little more complicated than joint physical custody. If a parent has joint physical custody of a child, but does not have any legal custody for the child, in certain specific circumstances, that parent can still make legal decisions regarding that child. For example, if a child is with their parent that does not have legal custody over them for their court appointed time of physical custody and that child has a medical emergency, precious time does not need to be taken to call the parent with full legal custody to have them make the necessary medical decisions. If there is ever a time where the health and safety of the child is at immediate risk, parents without legal custody can make decisions in order to protect the child.
When it comes to deciding the custody of a child, time must be taken to determine the proper route of action that is best for the child. After reading this article, you can be better prepared to make those decisions with your co-parent so that your child’s life is disrupted as little as possible. If you are in need of legal help to make child custody decisions and arrangements, contact a lawyer near you.