As you consider your divorce, one of your main priorities may be securing a specific custody arrangement for your children. You naturally want to ensure that you have as much time with your kids as possible, but you also want to make decisions that will protect their best interests as well. In many cases, this means allowing them to have relatively equitable time with both parents. You may determine that joint custody is what is best for your individual family situation.
While navigating the process of negotiating the terms of your custody and visitation order, you will want to understand all of the options available to your New Jersey family. A critical part of this is knowing the difference between physical and legal custody. These are two important components of any custody and visitation plan, and understanding these terms will help you make smart decisions that will benefit your family for years to come.
Important facts about legal custody
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to child custody, but there are certain things that will be an important part of all custody plans. Legal custody is the authority that one parent has to make important decisions in the life of his or her child. This includes things pertaining to education, health care decisions, religious upbringing and other critical matters. Some parents find that they are able to work together to make beneficial decisions, choosing to share legal custody.
Important facts about physical custody
Physical custody refers to the actual time you will spend with your child. This includes weekend visitation, summer vacations, week nights and more. The ideal way to rotate time with the other parent depends on the details of your individual situation. For example, if you have a unique work schedule, that should be a main factor in deciding how kids should share time between homes. It may be helpful to remember that equitable parenting time does not necessarily mean equal parenting time.
What is best for your family?
When creating a custody plan for your family, you will benefit from learning about all of the custody options available to you. An assessment of your family’s needs, your work schedule and other factors will help you create a plan that will provide stability and security for your kids for years to come. The ultimate goal of any decision you make should be protecting the best interests of the children above all else.