Custody battles can be the most straining element in a divorce, both emotionally and financially. There are two different types of custody that the parties should be aware of. Joint “Legal Custody” is the right of both parents to have input into the children’s health, education, and welfare. “Physical Custody” or “Parenting time” determines where the child lives and what the parenting time is with the other parent. New child custody guidelines have recently been released and any parents contemplating or discussing parenting time should be aware of the guidelines.
The presumption of the Court is generally that the parties are both fit and proper parents to share Joint Legal Custody. The determination of physical custody and parenting time is typically where the parents disagree.
The Court will look to the relationships of the parents with the children, and if old enough, the children may be interviewed regarding this, and possibly their preference in where they live and parenting time. In the case of a divorce, the previous roles of the parents (ie breadwinner and caretaker) are considered, but the Court will also acknowledge that the roles will change as a result of the divorce.
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