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Family Law and Divorce

Understanding Child Custody Terms

While many parents feel that custody laws may be unfair, the whole purpose of making these laws is in the best interest of the child or children. One of the main issues that parents have with these laws is that they vary from state to state. So for instance it is not best for an attorney from Ohio to give advice to a person living in Florida, because the laws may be different. In this case it would be best for the person to consult someone that is familiar with Florida divorce law rather than getting advice from a lawyer from another state.

The main point that parents must realize is that each case is done on an individual basis and is pretty much in the judge’s hand on how the custody will be determined. It is also important to try to get a lawyer that has experience with your situation if possible. While it is not clearly advertised divorce attorneys for men differ from divorce attorneys for women depending on where you live. Here are some common terms that be used by your judge and how each may affect your custody.

Child or Custodial Arrangements: Documentation is the key when it comes to custody arrangements. If at all possible it is best to work this out amicably with each other and get it in writing. Once this is set in writing and agreed upon by the judge this should be the only way that arrangements should be made. Don’t ever veer away from this setup, especially in a messy divorce, because the other party may file police charges if the custodial arrangement is not followed directly. Even in a divorce where you may be getting along with your former spouse it is best to error on the side of caution and gets anything in writing such as planned vacations or extra days with your children.

Joint Physical Custody: This arrangement is becoming more common and very popular among divorcees who are able to agree upon things. This manner lets the parents work out a custody schedule with each other and avoids potential legal issues. This situation is becoming more and more popular and takes the need out of additional court appearances over minimal problems.

Legal Custody: In the event that there are is not a joint agreement; the parent with legal custody has the right to make decisions with the children. The parent has the ability to choose the school district, the children’s doctor and any other things that have to do with the child being raised.

Primary Physical Custody: This type of custody is where the child or children stay with a particular parent more than the other parent. This is also common among divorces with the mother usually getting the child more than the father, but not in all situations. Depending on the situation of parents this can be mutually agreed upon or if there is resistance it can go to court. The judge usually sides with the parent who took primary care of the children during the marriage.

Divorce is a messy situation no matter how you look at it. While each state has different laws, the main goal is to protect the child or children as much as possible. With that being said, each custody case is different and it comes down to many different factors before a judge makes a decision.