Parental responsibility: Types of custody
When filing for divorce, you may be unsure of the best method of dividing parental responsibilities between you and your spouse. Determining the appropriate custody agreement and parenting plan for your child requires an incredible amount of foresight, as the decisions you make now will likely dictate the day-to-day life of your child, as well as their long-term care.
One of the first choices to make regarding your children is the appropriate type of custody agreement. While many people are familiar with the terms sole and joint custody – namely, that parental responsibility is either shared or held by one spouse – they may not be aware of further divisions of parenting rights and responsibilities that must be delineated in this process.
In a divorce settlement, the parties involved will have to establish who has legal custody of any children from the marriage. This refers to the the spouse who has control of major decisions, such as those regarding schooling, religion and health care. In general, Florida courts favor joint legal custody, meaning that both parents must confer on these matters.
Additionally, the court must determine the physical custody of the child, which refers to who they will live with. To ensure that a child has consistent and continuing access to both parents, the court leans toward shared physical custody, provided that the geographic location of their residences makes this possible.
Both legal and physical custody can be joint or sole, if the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child. In a future post, this blog will review the factors that may lead a court to limit a parent’s access to and ability to decide for their child.
Determining the appropriate way to divide parental responsibility is just one of many choices you must make regarding your child’s care after a divorce. For guidance throughout this complex process, contact Miami divorce lawyer Scott A. Ferris, Esq.