There are different types of child custody, and it's helpful to understand the differences.
The ultimate goal of any custody arrangement is the protection of the best interests of the children, and knowing more about the custody options available can help you protect your parental rights.
Legal custody is a term that refers to the specific rights that one parent has. Custody and visitation involve more than just the time you will have with your child, and it is prudent to consider all factors when making important decisions that will affect you and your kids for years to come.
What does legal custody mean?
Legal custody is the right that a parent has to make important decisions on behalf of the child. This is more than just making decisions on matters such as schedule and other minor issues. A parent with legal custody will have the right to decide on matters pertaining to:
- Education, such as where the child will go to school
- Religious upbringing, such as whether or not the child will practice the faith of his or her parent or parents
- Extracurricular activities, such as participation in sports, art and other opportunities
- Health care, such as the type of insurance a child needs, medical care, therapy and other health-related matters
The parent with legal custody has the ability to largely control the direction of the child's life. If the parent has sole legal custody, he or she will retain these rights without requiring the input of the other parent, even if they still share physical custody or split visitation time.
Some parents, through either court orders or their own agreements, share legal custody. This gives both parents the right to have a say in the major and long-term decisions made on behalf of the child.
Your rights as an active and loving parent
Children benefit when they have regular access to both parents after a divorce. In your unique situation, this may mean having a strong role in the important decisions that will impact your child's life.
If you are seeking custody or a practical visitation schedule, or you simply want to know more about the options available to you, you have no time to lose in getting the information you need. Custody matters are important, and you have the right to actively seek an arrangement that is beneficial to both your children and to you as the parent.