Separation is never an easy experience, but it can be even more difficult when it involves minor children. One of the most important aspects of divorce is determining the needs of the minor children and then crafting custody and visitation arrangements for both parents that meet the needs of their child(ren).
There are two types of custody, legal custody and physical custody.
- Legal Custody: This involves who gets to make decisions with regard to the overall care and control of the child (ie: education, healthcare, religion, etc.).
- Physical Custody: This involves where the child lives and the daily care of the child(ren).
Child custody, both legal and physical, can be structured to be either joint or sole. For example, both parents can share “Joint Legal Custody” allowing both parents to have responsibility and authority for the overall care and control of the child(ren), but one parent may have “Sole Physical Custody” which means the child(ren) reside(s) with one parent and the non-custodial parent may have specific visitation rights.
Visitation refers to the time that the non-custodial parent, or parent without primary physical custody, will have with the children. Visitation plans will include routine visitation, holidays, and summers. The more specific the visitation schedule is, the less chance there is for miscommunication and confusion.
Both parents are responsible for supporting and caring for their child(ren). Child support is determined using a formulaic guideline amount that takes into consideration each parent’s gross monthly income, the amount spent on work-related child care each month, and the premiums paid to provide healthcare and dental care for the child(ren). The formula also takes into consideration the arrangements regarding custody of the children and the number of days the non-custodial parent has visitation with the child(ren). Other factors that a court may consider include imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily under-employed; any special needs of a child resulting from any physical, emotional, or medical conditions; a written agreement, stipulation, consent order, or decree between the parties, which includes the amount of child support; and such other factors as are necessary to consider the equities for the parents and child(ren).
Parenting Plans may set forth the custody and visitation schedule, the decision-making rights and responsibilities of each parent, how disputes will be resolved, how the expenses of the child(ren) will be paid, and the amount of child support required each month. Negotiating a Parenting Plan allows the parents to be personally involved in the custody, visitation and support plan for their child(ren).
The attorneys at The Carlberg Law Firm are experienced in negotiating and litigating custody, visitation, and child support matters, and will work tirelessly to obtain the best possible parenting arrangement for you and your child(ren).