As one of many concerned parents in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, you want what’s best for your kids. At times, ensuring their well-being might mean making decisions that require lifestyle changes. If you’re preparing for a divorce, you undoubtedly are already aware that your decision to end your marriage is going to disrupt your children’s lives, at least, temporarily. Typical divorce issues that parents face nowadays are sometimes quite different than those encountered by parents long ago, especially in terms of child custody.
There are several types of custody. The more you learn ahead of time about each type, as well as other issues that may arise during your divorce proceedings, the more you can protect your parental rights and the best interests of your children, which should always be the central focus of child custody litigation.
Physical versus legal custody
When a family court judge is handing down a ruling on physical child custody, it means that he or she has determined where your children will live after your divorce. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the authority to make decisions on behalf of your kids, regarding topics such as education, health, faith and more.
You and your ex might share physical and legal custody, or you might request sole custody of your children. In the latter case, the court will want to see evidence to substantiate your claim that your children’s interests are best served if they live with you full time and you have sole authority to make decisions for them. Most cases involving sole custody include issues of parental substance abuse, domestic violence or another matter that the court may determine places a child at risk.
Bird’s nest custody and virtual visitation
There are numerous issues that may arise in custody proceedings in a modern world that were not necessarily relevant to parents long ago. For instance, if you and your ex get along well and want to help your children retain as much routine and normalcy in their lives as possible after your divorce, you may choose to agree to bird’s nest custody.
This means that your kids would live in a house (perhaps the house you shared with your ex during marriage) and you and your co-parent would take turns living there with them. With advanced technology, virtual visitation is another common issue in divorce, which is when you or your ex use video conferencing to have a virtual visit with your children. This is most common in situations where a parent lives a far distance away from his or her kids after divorce.
Supervised and unsupervised visits and more
The child custody arrangement you have may be unique in accordance with your family’s particular circumstances. If your ex has visitation rights but there’s a reason the court thinks it’s best for him or her not to be alone with your kids, the judge might order supervised visitation. Regardless of circumstances, when a child custody order is issued, both parents must adhere to its terms.
If you are facing a legal problem because your ex refuses to adhere to a court order or is doing things to try to turn your kids against you, etc., you do not have to sit back and do nothing. You can bring such matters to the court’s attention so that the judge overseeing your case can intervene and resolve the issue.