At NMS Law Firm, we handle child custody changes and modifications and assist with fashioning custody and parenting time or visitation arrangements that work best for you and your children.
Best Interests of the Child
In cases involving child custody, the court tries to determine the arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. If both parents are fit to care for the child, it is typically in the best interest of the child to maintain a healthy relationship with both parents.
The child's personal preferences (depending on the child's age) and the cause of the parents' divorce or separation may also be taken into account when deciding child custody matters.
Types of Custody
The two types of custody are legal custody and physical custody.
A party having or sharing legal custody has input on major decisions made for the child including decisions about healthcare, education, religion, extracurricular activities and other issues. Legal custody also grants a party access to information about the child from any sources.
In the past, it was common for one parent to have sole legal custody, and the other parent to have to obtain all information from that parent and to have no real say as to decisions. More recently, it is very common for the parties to have joint legal custody but with parties being assigned “tie-breakers.” A tie-breaker is the person whose decision controls in the event that the parents are not in agreement. Sometimes those tie-breakers are divided up between the parents; sometimes one parent has all the tie-breakers.
If there are factors which indicate that the parents cannot communicate with one another without a parent being placed in danger, then that would be a reason not to grant joint legal custody.
Physical custody refers to the time that each parent spends with the child.
It is common to designate one party as having primary physical custody of the child. That is the party whose home is the primary residence of the child. The child is to be with that parent except when the parenting plan allows time to the secondary physical custody. Sometimes, the primary physical custodian is described as having physical custody of the child, and the other party has visitation. Modern wording may describe and allot the parenting time that each parent will have. Joint physical custody is sometimes used to refer to an arrangement where the child will spend time equally with both parents. .
“Split parenting” is a term used when there is more than one child and one parent has primary custody over at least one child while the other parent has primary custody of at least one child.
Guardian ad Litem
In some cases where child custody is contested, an attorney called a guardian ad litem may be appointed to legally represent the best interests of the child. That lawyer is responsible for speaking for the best interest of the child.
We're Here to Help
With over twenty-five years of experience and children of her own, you can trust Attorney Nina M. Svoren with your child custody needs and rest assured that your children's best interests are her number one priority. Call us today at 706-282-4696 to schedule your free consultation.