The divorce rates among American couples remains high at nearly 59% of those who marry. The good news is that the trend today is going toward less divorce, but these numbers will not go below 45% in the foreseeable future. Perhaps it is just human nature that many of us will not be able to find lifelong happiness and will have to separate after a short or long period of time.
When divorce happens, it is typically traumatic for the couple. They have built a life together financially, emotionally, and physically and now much come to terms and do the work to detach and start their lives anew. There will certainly be trying times and days filled with anguish and wonderings of enough was done to save things and who is really at fault. The best things to hope for by both people is to have the difficult parts over quickly, to keep their good outlook on life, and that both sides will do what is necessary to properly take care of any children from the marriage.
The children can often get caught in between the emotional struggles between the parents during a divorce. They typically are not knowledgeable about the factors leading to the divorce and have their own emotional issues to deal with because of it. They have to accept that things will never be the same and that a life that may have been comfortable for them will now change drastically. There are many issues that the couple has to work out regarding the children and perhaps the most critical is custody.
Child custody issues are always complicated and made even more so by the fears, feelings and actions of the divorcing couple, but they must be dealt with and done so soberly for the sake of the children. Here are the types of custody the parents must consider for the children. In some cases the parents can choose and in other cases the court will decide:
What is Physical Custody?
Physical Custody – Where the children will live after the divorce. Both parents, one parent, and a guardian may be given physical custody over each of the children in a divorce.
Joint Physical Custody
In the best of circumstances and where both parents are capable, the court prefers to award joint physical custody to the parents. This arrangement guarantees that both parents will be active in the children’s lives which is usually best for them. If one parent disagrees that parent must show proof why it is not ideal. There are many reasons that may suffice including a parent being unfit or living some distance away that makes this arrangement very inconvenient. Joint custody does not usually mean equal time with each parent. It could mean that the children is with one parent the majority of the time and with the other on weekends or holidays. Both parents must agree to a schedule or the court will intervene.
Sole Physical Custody
Sole physical custody places the children at the permanent home of one of the parents and the other parent is given rights for the child to visit the other parent. This arrangement might be best for the children if they are young or there is a concern about them adjusting to the difficulty of a joint custody arrangement. Sole physical custody does often put less stress on children, but can be less fair to one of the parents.
In the case of a judge deciding that neither parent is capable of acceptably raising the children, custody may be given to a legal guardian. This is typical a relative of one of the couple. This is the least desirable and least popular outcome, but is necessary in some cases. This may also be agreed to for a period of time until one of the parents is capable of acceptably raising the children.
Custody issues are complicated, challenging, and filled with emotion. The laws also vary widely from state to state. If you are considering a divorce or are involved in one and there are children involved, it is important to have good legal advice from family law experts like Marrison Family Law, who can help you both understand the issues and how best to work through them for the benefit of the children.