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Types of child custody and which is best for your family

If you and your spouse decided to move forward with a divorce, you know there are many complicated issues you will both have to address. In addition to property division and other financial matters, you will also have to either negotiate a custody agreement or allow the court to decide. 

Regardless of the specific custody agreement that works best for your Alabama family, it is beneficial to understand the types of child custody. With this understanding, you can move forward with your pursuit of a custody order that will allow your family to have a stable and secure future, even after a divorce is final. The decisions you make during divorce will have an impact for years to come, and thoughtful consideration of your options is prudent.

Two types of custody to consider

Children benefit when they can maintain a strong relationship with both parents after divorce. For many families, joint custody works well, allowing the kids to see both parents regularly and parents to maintain strong and active roles. However, even joint custody arrangements will have to specify which parent has legal custody or physical custody. The differences between the two are as follows:

  • Legal custody: Legal custody refers to a parent's right to make important decisions on behalf of the child. This can include matters pertaining to religion, education and health care.
  • Physical custody: Physical custody refers to a parent's time with a child, including weekend visitation, school holidays and more. 

Parents who share physical custody may not necessarily share legal custody. However, there are some parents who are able to peacefully share both physical and legal custody. No one knows your family like you do, and you have the right to pursue an agreement that allows your child to prosper. If you think that shared or joint custody is beneficial for your family, it could be helpful to seek a better understanding of both legal and physical custody.

The stability your child needs

The goal of any child custody agreement is to provide security and provision for the children. While it is normal to have strong feelings about child custody, temporary emotions do not always indicate what is best. You may find it helpful to seek guidance as you work for an agreement that is practical and sustainable long into the future.

If you have questions about either legal custody or physical custody, a complete evaluation of your case can help you understand your options and how to seek a custody order that suits your needs and objectives.

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