Child Custody

Child custody, which is intended to ensure that the best interests of the child are prioritized even after divorce, is a critical divorce-related issue. Its mandate is that the child’s future should never be compromised. Thus, whoever the court assigns as the custodial parent becomes responsible with regard to the child’s education, medical care, and other developmental needs.

There are four main types of child custody. Sometimes the court assigns both parents as custodians to ensure their continuous participation in their child’s life. Child custody can be:

  • Legal custody – this type of custody grants custodial parents the right to decide about what’s good for their children: where the child should study and what church he or she should go to are some of the issues legal custody is meant to address. Some courts award legal custody to both parents. In the case of joint legal custody, both parents are guaranteed a say in these important issues.
  • Sole custody – if one parent is deemed unfit by the judge to continue caring for his or her child, usually due to drug dependency, alcoholism, mental incapacity, child abuse, or an unsuitable new partner, then sole custody may be the court’s choice.
  • Physical custody – this type of custody allows the custodial parent to be in the same house with his or her children. If the parents happen to live near one another, then joint physical custody may be chosen by the court instead. This is also based on the condition that both parents, despite the divorce, still continue to spend almost equal time with the child.
  • Joint custody – this type of custody entails joint legal and physical custody for both parents.

Child custody can be a contentious issue with profound effects for the lives of both the children and their parents.