Divorce and Child Custody – Various Kinds of Custody Agreements

Parents and child outside dealing with a tough child custody decision

When a married couple decides that they can no longer live together peacefully, they might decide that a divorce is the right way to go. If there are no children involved then it might just be an uncomplicated, quick process, however, if there are children involved the issue may become quite complicated and lengthy process. In many cases, the courtroom becomes a battlefield, and parents are brutally fighting over who will be the custodial parent, and what the role of the non-custodial parent will be. When cases such as these arise, it is at times the judges who need to step in and order evaluations of the family. Evaluations are conducted by experts in fields of psychology, psychiatry, and other mental health professionals. The mental health professional will evaluate the abilities of each parent, how do they maintain their home, how are their parenting skills, how do they interact with their children, and if the child is old enough, they will consider the child’s preferences and feelings. Generally, the recommendations of the experts can be rejected by both parents, and if that is the case, then the judge will have the final say.

Common Child Custody Agreements

There are quite a few custody agreements, and there really isn’t one in particular which will fit every case. There are, however, a couple of basic example child custody agreements that can be settled upon following a divorce.

Physical Custody

Either the parents or the judge presiding over the case has to make a decision as to whom the child will reside with. One parent can be given sole physical custody and in this case the other parent usually has little to no contact with their child. This is usually done in cases of physical abuse, or demonstrating poor parenting skills. The courts could also award joint physical custody, where the parents share the physical custody of the child. The decision of physical custody is arrived at the best interest of the child.

Legal Custody

Legal custody has to do with the rights of the parents to make decisions concerning their child. These decisions have to do with their child’s education, health, and other welfare issues. Just as with physical custody, either parent can be denied the right to legal custody, and the ability to contest what decisions the parent makes if they are granted sole legal custody. Parents can be awarded joint legal custody. In most cases, joint legal custody is granted unless it would be detrimental to the child’s well-being.

If parents work together then usually common child custody agreements can be worked out with the courts. The courts are concerned with the education, health, and general welfare of the child. This should also be the parents concern.