Child Custody in a Divorce Settlement
Settling child custody in a divorce settlement is essentially the same procedure as all other issues that must be resolved before the divorce is granted. There are legal documents that are crafted and agreed upon so that both sides understand their responsibilities as part of the divorce. That includes deciding upon child custody and how it should be handled.
Generally speaking, child custody is part of the bargaining as part of the divorce settlement. In most cases, both sides can agree on the final solution. However, if it cannot be settled then the judge will decide the type of child custody that will be enforced until they turn 18 years of age.
The first step is to hire a knowledgeable, experienced divorce attorney to represent your interest. Even if you and your spouse completely agree on a divorce settlement right from the start, it is vital to have an attorney by your side so that your rights are fully represented.
A proper divorce attorney will provide you with a free consultation for your initial visit so that they can tell you how their services will benefit you during the divorce. Once you agree to have them as your attorney, the next step is either filing for the divorce in court or if your spouse’s attorney has already done that, starting the process of crafting a proper divorce settlement.
Drafting a Settlement
Your spouse will most likely also have an attorney representing their interests, so the first step should be contact between both attorneys that will start the process of settling the divorce to the satisfaction of both sides. Generally speaking, this will start with what can be agreed upon readily so that it can be included in the settlement itself.
This will include the division of property and how the custody of any children under the age of 18 will be handled. If everything is agreed upon, then both sides present the same plan to the court where the judge will either give their approval or send both sides back to negotiations on the points where approval is not granted.
Child custody is often the most contentious issue in divorce settlements, so understanding the basic types of custody will help you better understand how it works.
Child Custody in the Settlement
- Joint Physical Custody: Both parents will have substantial face-to-face contact with the children on a continual basis.
- Sole Physical Custody: One parent takes the full responsibility of raising the children and must provide a visitation plan for the other parent with the judge’s approval.
- Joint Legal Custody: Both parents will share responsibilities in terms of education, health, and wellbeing of the children.
- Sole Legal Custody: One parent will make the decisions about the education, health, and wellbeing of the children. This is the most common type of custody agreement that is granted.
In addition, the parents will have to agree to visitation rights if called for in the divorce settlement for the one that does not have physical or legal custody. This is where a qualified divorce attorney can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your rights during a divorce settlement with child custody involved.