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Surprising Facts About Child Custody Cases

When a married couple gets divorced and there are kids in the family, custody of the children will be part of the divorce settlement. Child custody may seem straightforward - full custody referring to one parent having the children all the time and joint custody meaning that parents share time. In reality, it’s not that clear cut.

As a matter of fact, there are a variety of different types of child custody, including physical, legal, sole and joint custody.

  • Legal custody - parents have influence over their children’s upbringing. If legal custody is shared, both parents have input into issues such as schooling, discipline and religion.
  • Physical custody - defines which parent the child will live with. A common arrangement is for one parent to have physical custody of the children and the other parent has visitation rights.
  • Sole custody - one parent takes solo responsibility for the children. This may occur if one parent is deemed unfit.
  • Joint custody - parents have shared ownership over the kids.

Both legal and physical custody can be awarded as sole or joint custody. Joint custody, however, has a lot of gray areas. Here are some interesting facts about joint custody:

  • Both parents can make a decision about their child legally without getting consent from the other parent. However, failing to communicate properly tends to cause issues between parents and we would advise that healthy communication be the goal of both parties. If communication problems arise, it could land you back in court.
  • Neither parent can move their child away from the other parent unless they prove to the court that it is in the best interest of the child to do so. This rule is set in place to ensure that both parents live close enough to the child to make visitation as accessible as possible.
  • If a court order demands one side pay child support and they fail to do so, visitation rights can be withheld. Visitation rights and child support payments are not interdependent. For example, refusing to pay child support because your ex partner is withholding visitation is illegal.
  • Amendments to child custody situations must be done through the courts or through mediation. Both courts and mediators usually require the parent to prove that circumstances have changed dramatically and that they have a valid reason why the agreement should change.

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