Going through a divorce is never easy, especially if you have young kids. In most cases, parents are able to amicably settle these arrangements by themselves or, in some cases, with the help of a mediator or a child custody lawyer in Lynnwood.
However, Feldman & Lee PS notes that when both parties cannot come up with an agreement, the court usually takes over and awards child custody based on the best interests of the child.
Types of Child Custody
Before going any further, you must first understand the different types of child custody.
- Physical custody. This means the custodial parent holds the right to live with his or her child. Joint physical custody may also be granted where the child gets to spend equal amounts of time with both parents. This setup usually works well if both parents reside close to each other.
- Legal custody. A parent who has legal custody can decide about the child’s upbringing from schooling to their religious upbringing. In some cases, you can get sole physical custody of your child but share legal custody with your ex.
This means your child gets to live with you, but your ex has a say over any legal decisions concerning the child.
- Sole custody. Sole custody could either be sole legal custody or sole physical custody. Sole legal custody means the parent gets the sole responsibility of making decisions about the child’s upbringing, while sole physical custody means the parent gets to live with the child.
How Is Child Custody Determined?
When deciding which parent gets custody, the court takes the child’s best interests into consideration. But, the term ‘best interests’ might mean differently from one state to another. While child custody laws differ from state to state, there are some common factors used to determine who gets child custody.
If the child is old enough, the court may consider their preference. They also assess the parents’ mental and physical health, as well as their cultural and religious affiliations. Additionally, the parent who gets custody must be able to show that he or she can provide a stable home environment for the child.
Other considerations are the child’s age, sex, and how well they can adjust to school and the community, as well as interact with other members of the household.
Furthermore, the court will likely not grant custody to a parent who uses emotional abuse and excessive discipline and has a history of alcohol, drug, or sexual abuse.
Cases that involve child custody rights are both emotionally draining and stressful. It also doesn’t help that it also involves complex legal proceedings.
Don’t hesitate to contact a qualified and experienced family law attorney right away to help you with the legalities, especially if you can’t work out an agreement with your ex.