For Arizona parents, child custody can be one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce. It is not easy to go from living with your child to sharing parenting time, but with patience and a clear understanding of your rights and options, it may be possible to secure a custody and visitation plan that allows you to retain a strong role in the life of your child.
One of the ways that you can prepare yourself to pursue a strong and workable custody order is to learn about the types of child custody. Having all of the appropriate information can help you make beneficial decisions and pursue a future that works for every member of the family.
Types of child custody and your options
Every parent would be prudent to understand the differences between these two important types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. The differences between the two are as follows:
- The parent who has legal custody will have the right and responsibility of making important decisions on behalf of the child. This includes issues pertaining to education, religious upbringing and health care. One parent can retain sole legal custody, but it is possible for parents to share it.
- Parents can share physical custody, which is the time that the parent will physically be with his or her child. Since kids do better when they have regular access to both parents, it is likely that you will share parenting time with the other parent, but that does not necessarily mean it will be split equally.
Even in joint custody arrangements, these two types of custody are issues you must address. While it is possible for two parents to peacefully share both physical and legal custody, it does not necessarily mean it is best for your unique situation. It would benefit you to pursue a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of your kids according your individual situation.
Protecting your parental rights
As the biological parent, you have the right to protect your rightful role in the life of your child. You can do this by seeking a custody and visitation order that allows you to be proactive and present physically and emotionally. Protecting your interests as a parent can start as soon as possible in your divorce process. You can learn more about your parental rights, types of child custody and your options simply by seeking a complete evaluation of your case.