During divorce, one of the hardest decisions you may have to make is who will have custody of the children. Unfortunately, child custody remains one of the most contentious aspects of many divorce proceedings involving minor children.
Many people going through divorce have a general understanding of child custody, but they may not necessarily realize that many different kinds of custody exist. Here is a glimpse at the various child custody types in Wisconsin.
Physical custody is among the most commonly understood types of custody. If a judge has granted you physical custody of your children, this means your children can rightfully live with you. However, if your child will live with both you and your ex-spouse for long periods of time, you and the other party may end up receiving joint physical custody of the children. However, this will typically happen only if you and your ex live close to one another in order to avoid placing strain on your children.
If a judge grants you legal custody of the children, this means you can make critical decisions about your children’s health, education and upbringing. For instance, you can determine where to send your children to school, what belief system they will adopt and what kind of health care they will receive. If both you and your spouse receive joint legal custody, you will have to make decisions about your children together.
Sole and joint custody
You may receive sole custody, where you are the only parent to receive physical or legal custody of the children, if you can demonstrate that the other parent is not fit to have custody of the children. For instance, perhaps the other person has alcohol, financial or drug issues.
However, the recent trend is for judges to award joint legal custody even if only one parent receives sole physical custody. In addition, even if one parent receives sole physical custody, courts have been pushing for the other party to enjoy more visitation opportunities.
Your rights in a child custody case
If you and the other parent can come to an agreement on how you will handle child custody as part of your divorce, you can most likely avoid further court intrusion. If not, you must go to trial, where a judge will decide the outcome of this matter for you. Either way, it is within your rights to pursue the most personally favorable outcome while most importantly focusing on what is in your children’s best interests.