Understanding Child Custody Matters
Part I: Amicable Cases
A divorce or separation is a stressful time. Establishing a custodial arrangement for children is complex and difficult. Every parent wants what is best for their children, but it is challenging to agree on how they will be raised when the parties have split up. Parents can work together to solve problems amicably; however, most situations become contentious.
One of the most important things you can do is to try to work with your ex-spouse or significant other to create an amicable parenting arrangement without Court intervention. This will allow you to share custody of your child and ensure they live in a healthy home environment. In this first part of Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law’s blog series on child custody issues, we will discuss visitation and joint custody agreements and establishing a child’s primary residence.
Joint custody means that both parents are responsible for making decisions about their child’s education, health care, religious upbringing, protection, and training. In order to determine what variation of joint custody best suits your situation, it is critical to consider your circumstances and those of your ex-spouse.
For example: If there are no issues between you and your ex-spouse, then a 50/50 split might work best for everyone involved because this allows each parent equal access to their children and shared parenting responsibilities. However, this requires a high degree of cooperation and maturity, particularly when balancing work and school schedules.
What Is 50/50 Custody?
50/50 custody is a type of shared parenting plan in which parents share equal time with their children. This is sometimes called joint physical custody.
In 50/50 parenting arrangements, the child lives with each parent for approximately 50% of the time. Each parent shares day to day parenting responsibilities. Even in lesser “shared” arrangements, parenting responsibilities are shared in that each party is responsible for the child(ren) while they are in their care and custody.
Joint legal custody is a legal term that requires the parents to consult and share all major parenting decisions, irrespective of who has the child physically and for what period of time.
What Does ‘Primary Residence’ Mean?
Primary residence is the place where a child primarily resides, particularly for school purposes. The parent who has primary residence makes most of the daily decisions about their children’s lives, but major decisions still must be made jointly.
When it comes time to determine a child’s primary residence, the court will look at several factors; including where the child has lived previously, where they go to school, where their friends and activities are, etc. If one parent is remaining in the former marital residence, or even in the same are, that is a factor that will be considered.
How To Explain Joint Custody To Your Child
Focus On the ‘What’
Focus on how the joint custody & visitation arrangement will affect your kids’ daily routine. Discuss where they’ll be spending their nights and weekends, and share pick-up/drop-off logistics. Discuss how it will affect school.
Explain What Will Not Change
To ease your children’s minds, emphasize whatever aspects of their routine won’t change under the new custody and visitation arrangement.
Try to find a silver lining in the situation and emphasize both parents will still be involved in their upbringing.
Do I Need a Family Lawyer to Establish Joint Custody?
If you are considering a joint custody arrangement, working with an experienced family lawyer is essential. An attorney will protect your family and you and your child’s best interests. Thomas A. Corletta is a family law attorney who understands this process can be overwhelming and stressful for everyone involved, especially children.
Contact Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law For Your Custody Matter
At Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law, our goal is always to resolve your matter in a way that is beneficial for you and your child(ren). With decades of experience as a family law attorney serving Rochester, NY, and the surrounding area, Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law is here to provide objective and thorough legal advice when you may not be thinking clearly.
While an amicable approach to a child custody agreement is ideal, these matters often turn contentious. Revisit this page for Part II next month, where this blog will explore the specifics of custody litigation.