Are you going through a divorce and you have a child involved? Then it’s very likely that you’ll make a child custody order.
When planning out a child custody order, you may need to make the following considerations:
Sole or joint custody
Child custody agreements are either made with sole or joint custody in mind. While courts typically push for a joint custody arrangement, some family dynamics may require one parent to take sole custody. But, how are sole and joint custody different?
Sole custody is for parents who may need exclusive legal and physical custody of their child. Legal custody allows a parent to decide what’s best for a child’s upbringing, such as their education, health care, religious instruction and other important matters. Physical custody determines where a child lives – sole physical custody means the child would live with the custodial parent (although visitation may be ordered with the other parent).
Joint custody gives both parents some rights over their child’s upbringing. With joint custody, each parent will have equal legal custody and physical custody rights. What this means is that parents share responsibilities to decide their child’s education, health care and other important life issues. They may also split where their child lives.
Co-parenting or parallel parenting plan
If parents decide to work out a joint custody arrangement, it doesn’t necessarily mean that both parents have to constantly work side-by-side. In other words, parents may have a co-parenting or parallel parenting plan – this often reflects how well parents work together.
A co-parenting plan generally means that parents have constant communication about their children and the custody arrangement since they have to work together on many issues. By comparison, a parallel parenting plan is for parents who can’t agree on a single parenting method. This type of plan allows both parents pretty broad autonomy when they have the children in their care, and usually limits communications with the co-parent through approved channels.
These are only a few considerations you’ll likely make during the discussion process. As a parent, you may need to be aware of all of your legal options when planning out a child custody order.