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What is Custody and How Does it Impact You

There are so many new and trying emotions that occur for children and parents alike when a divorce happens. Working through financial records and settling how certain assets will be handled after marriage can be arduous. One of the most trying aspects of a divorce is deciding where the children will live after the couple is living separately. It can be difficult for all parties involved, including the children when this decision of custody is decided. If you are going through a divorce or are considering one, there are a few types of custody that you should be aware of as they will be discussed come during the divorce proceedings.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is where the court and the State recognize that you have legal rights as the parent in the welfare of your child. This means that you can advocate on behalf of your child's well being and have a voice into how the child should be raised in terms of values and lifestyle choices.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is typically what people think of when the concept of custody is brought up. This is where a parent is able to physically take care of the child in their own home. This means that the child will see you each and every day as you will be the care giver. This is the type of care that most parents want when they go through a divorce.

Sole Custody

Sole custody is where only one parent is awarded custody of the child. This type of custody typically includes both physical and legal custody of the child. This type of custody is awarded when one parent is absent or abusive towards the child which makes them unfit to have a legal voice or provide physical care for the child.  

Joint Custody

Joint custody is the most common type of custody awarded during divorce. This is where both parents are given equal right to spend time with and legally represent the child. This aspect of the divorce is usually negotiated between the parents before the subject goes to court. However, the court can get involved and decide how custody should be determined if it is not resolved during the negotiations. This is where it is critical to have legal representation that is experienced, qualified, knowledgeable and supports your best interest so that you are able to get the most favorable outcome for your children during the divorce.

Joint custody also has some variations in that both parents could be awarded joint legal custody but only have one parent given sole physical custody. This type of decision could result from a variety of reasons, but underscores the fact that having a legal team that can advocate your best interest is key.

Divorce is never something a couple would seek unless it was determined that is was necessary and for the best interest of all members of the family. It is a challenging process both financially and emotional for all members of the family so it should not be taken lightly. You will be a different person when the divorce is done. If you find yourself needing a divorce, consider seeking the counsel of an experienced custody attorney. While you may think that you and your spouse can find a solution on your own, getting the counsel from an attorney that has worked with couples in similar situations can be invaluable. Consider working with Andrews & Arbenz for your custody needs. We are a legal team in the Puget Sound that has helped people get the best possible outcome in their legal situation. We have many years of experience representing both mothers and fathers in their divorce and custody cases. We are confident that we a are able to help you in your divorce proceeding and can advocate for your needs to help you and your family.