Going through a divorce is something that is never easy to do. From all of the emotions to all of the legal matters, there is a lot in the divorce process that can be very challenging to manage and deal with. If there happens to be children involved, the whole divorce process takes on another degree of seriousness, as the lives and futures of the children are thereby being affected. For sure, beyond just the happiness of the couple being divorced, the present and future health, well-being, and security of the children should then take priority within a divorce.
The legal family court system is the venue where the status of child custody is determined. Though all cases are not necessarily contentious or conflictive, there are always many things that are taken into consideration relating to the well-being and safety of the children. A major consideration will always be the lives, livelihoods, and lifestyles of both parents, and this all may even be examined in close detail. Other factors will also be strongly considered, such as the particulars of location, schooling, and the safety of the homes, among other things. Ultimately, the final resolution in a child custody case must be in the absolute best interests of the children, whether the parents are divorcing or otherwise simply not together.
Beneath a federal standard, each state, and often each county in a state, may have distinct guidelines and procedures for handling child custody cases. Yet, the most common resolutions are sole custody, joint custody, visitation, or supervised visitation. When the resolution is sole custody, due to all of the factors that are considered, the determination is that it is best for only one parent to have legal custody of the children. Somewhat similar to sole custody, only one parent is granted custody of the children in a resolution of visitation, but this allows the other parent the privilege to visit and spend time with the children for a certain amount of time. If the resolution is supervised visitation, this means that the other parent is granted a certain amount of visitation time, but the custodial parent, or someone else appointed by the courts, must be present to supervise and monitor the visit.
With joint custody resolutions, there is sometimes a distinction made between joint physical custody or joint legal custody. In general, joint custody resolutions are given when it is best for the children to live with both parents equally for specific periods of time. This circumstance is what is usually meant by the phrase joint physical custody. In some cases, only one parent may be permitted by the courts to make certain kinds of decisions on behalf of the children, even with joint physical custody. In these instances, the determination may be called joint legal custody.
When handling child custody cases, the parents should always focus primarily on the health and well-being of their children, both in the present and in the future.