As a Missouri parent, one of your main priorities during a divorce is the care and protection of your children. This means shielding their interests during and after the process, including ensuring your custody and visitation arrangement is fair and sustainable. Making the right custody decisions from the very beginning is critical because these terms will affect every member of your family for years to come.
One way you can ensure you are making the best possible custody and visitation choices is to fully understand all of the custody options available to you. There are different types of child custody, and each mean different things for your family. When you understand the potential implications of the options available to you, you can create a custody and visitation plan that will provide your family with security and stability for the future.
Custody options and what they mean
In any type of custody arrangement, physical custody and legal custody are two critical elements. The difference between these two types of custody include:
- Physical custody — This is the amount of time you will have with your kids, including summer vacation, weekend visitation and more. Children benefit when allowed to maintain strong and consistent relationships with both parents, which is why equitable physical custody can be beneficial.
- Legal custody — Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions on behalf of his or her children. This includes choices related to health care, education, religious upbringing and more.
Joint custody is a common child custody choice, but these arrangements do not necessarily mean parents will have exactly equal physical and legal custody. One parent may retain sole legal custody while sharing physical custody or vice versa. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to these concerns, and you have the right to pursue an outcome that makes the most sense for your individual situation.
The right path for your family
Every family is different, and the right child custody arrangement depends on factors that are unique to your circumstances, including your work schedule, unique medical needs your kids may have, personal preferences and much more. These are critical choices, and whether you are negotiating the terms of a custody order with the other parent or you are fighting for your desired outcome in court, it will benefit you to know how to protect your parental rights and pursue the ideal custody arrangement for your family.