Most people in the U.S. are likely aware that nearly 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Though no one wants to be part of this statistic, separations and divorces routinely occur. In the best interest of all involved, sometimes divorce is the best step a couple can take. However, particularly when it comes to children and child custody, sometimes divorce proceedings can get complicated.
Some of our Michigan readers may have heard about the documentary ‘Romeo Makes a Payment,’ which is about a man, his divorce and his ensuing child custody disputes. In an interview with The Huffington Post, the man in the documentary noted divorce and custody battles can be difficult, and based on his own experience, he was inspired to make the documentary to support others in similar situations.
For many divorcing couples with children, oftentimes the first question that comes to one’s mind is which parent is likely to get custody of the children. Many divorcing couples may not be familiar with the legalese surrounding child custody until they are in a situation wherein they are dealing with this family law issue. Divorcing parents may not know the difference between joint legal and joint physical custody.
The two are distinct legal concepts. Joint legal custody refers to the shared decision making capabilities the parents have with regard to how to raise their children. This may include decisions about religious upbringing, which school the child will attend and more. However, despite a joint legal custody arrangement, the child may reside with only one parent, the custodial parent.
Joint physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where the child will live and with which parent. Generally, in a joint physical custody case, where the child will live is determined based on which living arrangement supports the best interest of the child. These arrangements usually require commitment from both parents.
Even in the most amicable divorces, disagreements regarding child custody and child support may come up. However, these disagreements do not necessarily have to be a matter of contention between parties. The ex-couple can work together to resolve custody and parenting issues. It may helpful in these situations for parties to speak with a family law attorney to find the best solution.
Source: American News Report, “Child Custody in a Divorce: Let the Fight Begin,” Feb. 4, 2014