The child custody law allows parents and guardians to work out the right kind of arrangement for the care of their children. Take note that physical and legal aren’t always integrated. It’s important to know the distinction as well as other pertinent points in the family code going into custody mediation. For this, you need the legal services of a child custody lawyer.
A child custody case can get complicated, however. There are instances when the parents are unmarried or paternity is being questioned. For complex cases or considerable hostility between the parties, a mediator may not be enough and the custody dispute has to be brought to court. Nonetheless, child custody cases are decided with the interests of the child prioritized.
Main Types of Child Custody
In granting custody of a child, the family court has five main options as to what kind of child custody to award. If you’re divorcing or if there has been any kind of upheaval in your family setup, compelling you to delve into custody laws and come up with a new arrangement for the care and upbringing of your minor children, the following are the types of custody you can choose from.
- Sole Legal Custody
This type of custody gives the custodial parent full authority to make important decisions concerning the children, which includes pretty much everything in their lives, from education and health care to lifestyle and daily activities.
The court may award sole legal custody if it looks like the parents would be heavily indulging in back-and-forth arguments. Such full custody is also usually awarded by the court when one parent is totally absent, making it necessary for the court to give the present parent absolute authority in making decisions.
- Joint Legal Custody
Joint legal custody means that both parents share the authority to make decisions for their children. This means that the parents have to constantly communicate with each other to reach an agreement on decisions regarding their children.
Joint legal custody of children can be stressful, but if the parents are willing to overcome their differences in order to agree on the best interest of their children, they can provide their young ones a positive model of cooperation.
- Sole Physical Custody
A child custody case that ends up in sole physical custody simply means that the minor child is assigned to live with just one parent or caretaker. If the court determines that it’s in the best interest of the child to have a sense of consistency and continuity, sole physical custody of the child is the likely court order.
It’s possible in sole physical custody cases for the non-custodial parent to significantly figure in their children’s lives. In cases involving sole physical custody, the other parent is usually given visitation rights. A noncustodial parent may still play a big role in his or her kids’ lives.
- Joint Physical Custody
This is commonly referred to as shared custody. Joint physical custody is an arrangement that has children regularly living with both parents. They may move from one parent to the other weekly, monthly, seasonally, etc. It all boils down to both parties sharing parental responsibility for their children.
Shared parenting is, of course, harder to manage if the two homes involved are not near each other. Constant adjustment is demanded of all parties concerned, but it does allow both parents to be actively involved in the children’s care.
- Bird’s Nest Custody
Bird’s nest custody agreements are a lot like regular shared custody arrangements with shared parental rights and responsibilities, but the children stay in one home. It’s also a joint custody agreement, but it’s the parents who have to shuttle back and forth, instead of the children.
This arrangement is quite rare, being more expensive and challenging to organize, but it does lend the most consistent and uninterrupted lifestyle for the kids.
Fighting for Child Custody? Contact an Arizona Family Law Attorney Today!
Custody disputes are sad endeavors, but there are times when they are necessary and cannot be avoided in pursuit of the best interests of the child. Child custody lawyers can help their clients achieve the best outcome in their custody battles.
If your circumstances are requiring you to gear for a custody battle in Arizona, make sure that you hire a local custody lawyer who is familiar with state child custody laws and can defend your particular custody rights and your general parental rights as you file for custody. Call us a Zolman Law for a free consultation with an experienced child custody attorney.