The Harding Law Firm News

Understanding Child Custody and What It Means for Each Party

Harding Law Firm - Friday, January 09, 2015

Child Custody

Child custody isn’t a cut and dry aspect of divorce. In fact, child custody has several forms: two being sole custody and joint custody. With each type comes different rules, standards, and laws, but in the end, it is the children’s best interests that are at the forefront. And, no one can deny, children have the right to be fed, clothed, and protected until they reach adulthood.

A Lawyer’s Role

A lawyer’s role will often be to help present the facts during a divorce so that a judge can issue a custody order which lays out the custody arrangements. If one parent is not awarded custody, the judge will assign visitation rights. If there is sufficient cause, one or both parents may, in the future, apply to the court for a modification of child custody.

What is Sole Custody?

Sole custody means that one parent gets physical as well as the legal custody of the child or children.

What is Joint Custody?

Joint custody, on the other hand, is where both parents get the right to have a say in making decisions for the child(ren). In many cases, it’s worked out, legally, where the child gets to stay for a set period of time with each parent.

Joint Custody, Cooperation, and Communication

In the situation where joint custody is the agreement, it’s important that both parents are cooperating and communicating effectively regarding any decision making about their children. It’s not hard to imagine that often during divorce proceedings, the relationship between spouses can take a turn for the worse and conflict is a regularly occurring event.

It then becomes inherently important for the co-parents to seek mediation and improve their communication styles. Why? The children involved won’t feel secure, may have behavior issues because of inconsistencies, their problem solving abilities may suffer, and the example they follow will grow with them into their own adult relationships.

No matter the state of a relationship, the law requires the parents to act in the best interests of the child This is where pre-determined custody agreements (by a judge) may come into question and legal counsel is sought to amend or completely change a custody agreement. If you or someone you know is in this situation, do call us for a consultation.