The word “custody” sometimes sends shivers down the spine of divorce litigants. However, the term is often misunderstood. What does custody mean in the context of divorce? First, there are two parts to custody: legal and physical.
Legal custody refers to decision making with regard to your child’s health, education and religion. Most couples, even those who are divorcing, agree on those issues, which is why almost all divorce cases result in joint legal custody
Physical custody is another matter. Here we are talking about who is going to have the child at what times. Will one parent have sole physical custody with the other having “visitation,” or will physical custody be shared? At our firm we take a more modern approach and frame the issue in terms of a parenting plan rather than “custody and visitation.” Really, no parent should be labeled a “visitor.”
It is important to understand your custody terms and arrive at a plan that is conducive to your family, rather than getting caught up in the “custody” label. There is good news, however: with skilled lawyers, these situations usually work out. Very few cases involving custody end up at trial.