The end of a relationship or marriage comes with some major changes, the most profound of which is where and with whom the children will live. Child custody issues can be both complex and emotional, so it's in the best interests of all parties involved to understand the different arrangements awarded by family law courts. Below is an overview of the three main types of custody rulings.
A Guide to Custody & Visitation Arrangements
1. Physical Custody
Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child resides most of the time. It can be awarded solely to one parent, or, with joint physical custody, it can be divided more or less evenly between both. In recent years, an arrangement called bird's nest custody has become more and more common; in this situation, the children live in one home and it is the parents who alternate their time there.
2. Legal Custody
Legal custody is another way of saying decision-making. The parent with this designation has the right and authority to make decisions on behalf of the minor child, including where they go to school, what child or health care they receive, and what religion they should be brought up in. In the vast majority of families, both parents are awarded joint legal custody, regardless of whether they have joint physical custody or not.
Visitations are regular, scheduled visits between a parent, who has not been granted sole or joint physical custody, and their minor child. Courts can order they be supervised or unsupervised. During unsupervised visits, a parent can take a child home or on an outing. During supervised visits, a monitor must be present at all times. Depending on the circumstances, the monitor might be appointed by the courts or it may be a trusted family member or friend. Virtual visitations are another option; in these situations, a parent is given time with the minor child via video conferencing technology.
Knowing how custody and visitation are structured will ensure you understand your parental rights and responsibilities. If you are involved in a custody matter, let Ronald D. Zipp, Attorney at Law, help. For over 45 years, he has been representing Comal County, Texas in family law and criminal defense matters. Set up a free initial consultation by calling his office at (830) 629-5600 or visiting his website today.