As a parent, you undoubtedly hoped that you would always be able to do right by your children. What this means differs from parent to parent, but you certainly tried your best to raise them with love and care. Still, your marriage to the other parent is coming to an end, and you may wonder what that will mean as far as child custody arrangements.
Child custody can be one of the more contentious parts of any divorce process. If you and the other parent no longer get along at all, conflict may arise over who should have custody over the kids and what that could mean for the other parent. Before your case gets underway, you may need information about different types of custody.
Legal and physical
When you think of types of custody, you may have first through about sole custody and joint custody. While these two are types of custody arrangements, the two types of actual custody include legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody involves having the ability to make important life decisions for your children. Commonly, both parents maintain legal custody over their kids after divorce, which means that both you and the other parent can make choices regarding religious upbringing, education and non-emergency medical situations. Even though joint legal custody is common, the possibility of sole legal custody does exist, which means that only one parent would be able to make such decisions.
Physical custody relates to where the children will live most of the time after the divorce. Again, this type of custody can have sole and joint custody arrangements. If a parent obtains sole custody, the children will stay with that parent most of the time while the non-custodial parent will likely receive visitation rights. Joint or shared custody would allow both parents to see the children on a relatively equal basis.
What if you do not get custody?
If you want sole or even joint physical custody but the court does not grant either to you, you become the non-custodial parent. In such a case, the court would likely create visitation terms that you would have to follow in order to spend time with your children. Visitation can be valuable to non-custodial parents so that they can work to maintain relationships with their kids.
You likely have your own ideas about what you want the outcomes of child custody proceedings to look like. As a result, you may need reliable information about what courses of action could help you work toward those results. Working with a Minnesota family law attorney may help you with this endeavor and throughout your case.