Let’s Define Our Child Custody Terms

What is child custody?

            As you hammer out the details of dividing up time with your children as you and your ex begin to finalize everything and draw up the necessary paperwork, it’s a good idea to know exactly what different types of custody mean. Signing something or agreeing to anything without knowing the terms of that agreement or having a fuzzy understanding of things is going severely increase the chances that the outcome will not be exactly what you had in mind when you signed on the dotted line. As I stress in all these posts, educate yourself. If you’re opting out of the court room setting and settling things between the two of you, it’s easy to overlook something. It’s unfortunate but true in some cases that people can get taken advantage of. Here are some terms that are thrown around a lot in family legal issues:

Legal Custody. If you or the other parent has legal custody of your kids this means you, or they, are the primary decision maker in their lives. This means deciding what doctor they see. What school district is best for them, where they go to day care etc.

Physical Custody. Having physical custody of your child means they live at your house and spend the majority of their time in your care. Fathers or mothers in these kinds of situations will commonly have some sort of visitation schedule to spend time with the kids. It’s important not to lose sight of the family unit that goes into raising children.  Having primary custody of your child doesn’t mean they don’t need the other parent.

Joint Custody. This is really the outcome that brings about the greatest well being within a family. In order for this to work however, it’s imperative that you get along with your ex. Maintaining a strong relationship between the other parent, regardless of the differences that split the two of you up, will give your kids the stability their lives need and also help build solid relationships between all of you.

There is a lot of information out there for newly separated parents, single parents or anyone needing more resources concerning the well being of their family. As you decide the best schedule or means of keeping the family running as smooth as possible after your separation, lawyers and legal forms can be intimidating but there’s nothing in the rule book that says you can’t do your homework before you come to class. Here’s a helpful link to a website with a large amount of legal definitions concerning family law.

There’s an old saying that you should talk less and say more. Making these kinds of decisions can be hard. Know in your heart and your mind exactly what’s going on before you do anything that wasn’t given a fair amount of thought.


Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Child Custody, Child Visitation, Children, Family, Parenting Plans
16 comments on “Let’s Define Our Child Custody Terms
  1. StepdadAgain says:

    Great info. I’m living the result of sloppy divorce perimeters because my Fiencee and her ex thought they could always remain friendly through their divorce. So neither crossed the T’s or dotted the I’s. Turns out her ex is always friendly as long as every decision goes his way. Saddley if he doesn’t get his way my Fiencee (and me through osmosis) suffers with no legal recourse. Remember, if your marriage couldn’t last forever then why would you believe your kindness/friendship could?

    • What you described is certainly true most of the time. How old are her children?
      If your fiance is having issues due to an informal, poorly drafted divorce decree, we can most likely help her with getting it modified so that she has regular visits or custody agreement.
      I’m sure you will continue to support her through this situation. Let us know how else we can help, she can contact us anytime.

  2. good2begone says:

    Great information. As a stepfather, I could always use this kind of advice to help with bonding with the kids. Thank you,

  3. augustmidge says:

    Very important information, most of the time going through any legal situation the confusion is overwhelming and understanding what is going on is so imperative. 🙂

  4. […] Let’s Define Our Child Custody Terms (aboutthechildrenblog.com) […]

  5. […] Let’s Define Our Child Custody Terms (aboutthechildrenblog.com) […]

  6. […] Let’s Define Our Child Custody Terms (aboutthechildrenblog.com) […]

  7. […] Let’s Define Our Child Custody Terms (aboutthechildrenblog.com) […]

  8. […] Let’s Define Our Child Custody Terms (aboutthechildrenblog.com) […]

  9. […] Let’s Define Our Child Custody Terms (aboutthechildrenblog.com) […]

  10. […] Let’s Define Our Child Custody Terms (aboutthechildrenblog.com) […]

  11. […] Let’s Define Our Child Custody Terms (aboutthechildrenblog.com) […]

  12. Stressedoutmama says:

    I have sole physical custody of my son, but we have joint legal custody. My ex seems to think that he has the right to bring home my son whenever he wants. He also thinks he can get my son out of school early whenever he wants, even if it’s not his visitation time because according to him, he has joint custody. Luckily, the school has a copy of our custody agreement and notifies me if he tries to get him when he’s not supposed to. The bigger problem is, it’s not my ex that has my son during his visitation, it’s his elderly parents. My son is 7 years old and has multiple disabilities, including being nonverbal and in a wheelchair. I have major concerns for my sons safety. Between his elderly parents lifting my son, my ex being an alcoholic, and recent conversations I’ve had with prople telling me my ex is using drugs. I don’t know what to do. I can’t afford to go back to court to fight for sole legal custody. I’m still paying for the divorce and the debt I’ve incurred starting over and buying everything since my ex left us with nothing.

    • Your situation is relatively common. A couple gets divorced and their order is unspecific regarding some very important details that should have been established. His medication directions being one of the most important in this case, should certainly be covered.
      You mentioned you heard from other sources that he is doing drugs. If you want to bring this up in court, you need to have hard proof – eyewitness accounts, drug tests, photos etc.
      To get this resolved you really have to get back into court and modify your order to include pick-up, drop-off times and locations, and who can watch him on his fathers visits. Understand you are financially strapped at the moment, do what you can to save up for this, ask friends and family for support. It always comes down to getting a well-defined court order in place to enforce all of your rights as a parent.
      We can certainly help you go back to court when you are ready.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Popular Topics

Click to follow your blog and receive helpful parenting & court prep posts by email.

Join 11,174 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: