Parents sometimes assume that child custody is just going to be split in half. If they are not granted sole custody of their child, then they believe that those rights will be divided equally between them and their ex.
But this is not always the case. The court is going to do what is in the best interest of the child. This may mean that custody is not perfectly equal. For example, if it allows the child to stay in the same school system, then the court may rule that the child will live with the same parent all week – putting them closer to that school. They can then see the other parent on the weekends. This may not be perfectly fair, but it puts the child in the best possible position.
There are different types of custody
On top of that, parents need to remember that there are two general types of custody – physical custody, or parenting time, and legal custody, or decision-making power. These also don’t have to be split up equally.
For example, the court may decide that it would be best for both parents to see the child, so they share physical custody. One parent at least has visitation rights and gets to spend some time with their child.
But due to medical conditions, substance abuse issues or other such reasons, the court may decide that only one parent should have legal custody. Even though the child lives with both parents, that one person is entrusted with making important decisions like where the child will go to school or what type of medical care they will get.
Of course, every divorce case is unique. It’s crucial for parents to understand how this process works and what legal steps to take.