If you are in the process of obtaining a divorce, you are likely feeling a range of strong emotions, especially if there are children involved. Custody disputes are often stressful and complicated. For this reason, it is a good idea to enlist in the support of a child custody attorney to help you protect your rights.
Types of Custody Agreements for Minor Child or Children
There are two basic types of custody agreements for children: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody means that a parent is entitled to have the child live with him or her. In some cases, a court will award joint physical custody to the parents. This custody arrangement works best when the parents live relatively close together. In other cases, one parent will have primary physical custody, and the other parent will typically have the right to parenting time or visitation with the child.
Legal custody refers to a parent's right to make significant decisions on the child's behalf. These decisions can apply to religion, education, medical care and other important aspects of the child's upbringing and development. When legal custody is shared, the parents must communicate to each other about their choices. If one parent chooses to exclude the other parent from decision-making, it may be necessary to take the offending parent to court to enforce the custody agreement.
Parents are sometimes awarded sole physical custody or sole legal custody of the child. This custody arrangement is typically awarded when one parent is deemed unfit for some reason. Parents who are deemed unfit may suffer from alcohol or drug dependency or they may be facing charges of child neglect or abuse.
Establishing a Custody Agreement for Minor Child or Children
Ideally, both parents can come together to establish a custody agreement that works with both of their schedules and allows them to share parenting time. Often, divorcing couples will retain individual lawyers to advocate on their behalf. If they are unable to come to an agreement, they may pursue mediation to help them reach an appropriate compromise.
What If the Parents Can't Agree on a Custody Arrangement?
If divorcing couples are unable to agree on a custody arrangement, they may have to leave it to the court to decide. Courts recognize the value of having both parents involved in their child's life and will take several factors into consideration when determining an appropriate custody arrangement. The judge's decision will be based on what is in the best interest of the child. Once a judge establishes child custody, any modifications to the arrangement must be approved by the court.
Protect Your Legal Rights
At Segarra & Associates, P.A., we believe that as a parent, you have the right to a relationship with your child, and you deserve to spend as much time with your child as possible. Our goal is to ensure that you move through this challenge as quickly and smoothly as possible with the help of one our dedicated Miami divorce lawyers. Contact us today for a consultation!