One of the most difficult decisions that must be made during a divorce is the custody of the children. Both parents love their children and neither wants to miss any part of their lives. This decision is very emotional for everyone involved. Most states recognize three different types of child custody options.
The very best situation would be for the couple to agree to shared parenting. This means that all decisions regarding the children will be made jointly by the couple. The custodial parent (the one the children live with) agrees to keep the other parent completely informed of all of the children’s activities and they agree the children can visit any time. A schedule is still determined through the divorce process, but the non-custodial parent often sees the children more than the court says they need to.
Another option is for primary custody. The parent who has primary custody makes the majority of the decisions about the children and can do so without consulting the other parent. The children live with this parent and the other parent usually has a visitation schedule that must be followed. Primary custody would be the best option when one parent moves away and it isn’t always convenient to contact them for decisions.
Secondary custody would be the parent who does not have primary custody. Most of the time, this parent can see the children as he/she wants (or as the schedule allows) but they have little to no say in any decisions concerning the child. Primary and secondary custody usually go together in a divorce.
Choosing where the child will live is always hard, but the best option for the children would be to stay in their family home if at all possible. If you can, avoid as many big changes for them as you can. They need stability during this tough time. Children also need time to grieve and adjust to their new lives. Again, the best option for children is for both parents to share the parenting duties.
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