If you and your child's other parent have decided not to pursue your relationship any further, you may have to speak to a child custody lawyer. You must determine who will have physical, legal, or shared custody. One of you may plan to petition the court for sole custody. But what do these custody arrangements mean, and is sole custody even possible? Here are a few FAQs to help answer some of your questions.
What Are The Different Types of Custody Arrangements?
When you discuss custody, there are two main types. The court usually defines custody as legal or physical custody.
- Physical Custody - This means the child is physically with you. You provide care and spend the majority of your time with your child.
- Legal Custody - This means you make all of the legal decisions concerning your child's care.
You can share both legal and physical custody. You may share one type of custody, not the other, or you can share both.
For example, you may have physical custody of your child and share legal custody. When this custody arrangement is in place, the child lives with you, and you share any significant legal decisions with their other parent.
In another example, you may have shared physical custody while one of you retains legal custody. The child spends considerable time with both parents, but only one of you will be responsible for legal decisions.
What Is Sole Custody?
You may also seek sole legal and physical custody. Seeking sole custody means your child will live with you, and you make all legal decisions about your child.
Even though you have sole custody, the court may grant the other parent visitation. In most states, the other parent has the right to visit unless you can show that it is not in your child's best interest for visitation to take place.
How Can I Have My Child's Other Parent Determined Unfit?
One of the reasons that the court may deny visitation is if the court deems your child's other parent unfit. Some factors that contribute to such a designation may include the following:
- History of Drug or Alcohol Abuse
- History of Child Abuse
- History of Domestic Violence
- Mental Health Issues
- Physical Health Conditions
- Unstable Housing
This is just a short list of factors the court considers. If you think anything is creating an environment where your child would be unsafe, you need to discuss these with your child custody attorney. Contact a child custody law firm in your area such as Ritter & LeClere APC Attorneys At Law to learn more.