Child custody is one of the most complex issues of a divorce. As a concerned and loving parent, you want to make sure that you have plans in place that allow your kids to have stability and security well into the future. One way you can do this is by providing your kids with a reasonable custody order.
There are several options available to West Virginia parents regarding child custody. It is important to give your child access to both parents, if possible, but it is also important for you to protect your own parental rights. One way that you can balance these two things and come to a final agreement that will work for the whole family is to learn more about custody and the different choices available to you.
The difference in physical and legal custody
There are two different types of custody — legal and physical custody. Both of these elements are important, directly impacting how much time you get with your children and the authority you have in their lives. Physical custody pertains to the actual time your kids will be with you. Legal custody is the right to make important decisions for your children, including those pertaining to education, religious training and other important matters.
Will joint custody work for you?
In a true joint custody arrangement, two parents will share both physical custody and legal custody. This does not always work, and sometimes, one parent may retain legal custody while sharing legal custody with the other parent. What will work best for your family depends on the details of your individual situation and the unique needs of your children.
Look to the future
The ultimate goal of any custody arrangement is to protect the best interests of the children above all else. It’s normal to have strong emotions about child custody, but it can help to keep your focus on what is ideal for your children long-term. You will have to consider what your kids need for the future, which may require you to set aside your own temporary emotions.
Don’t navigate it alone
If you have questions about your child custody options or you are unsure of what is best for your individual situation, you may want to speak with an experienced family law attorney about your options. These are decisions that will impact your family for years, but you do not have to make them alone.