The concept of child custody is divided into two separate components: legal and physical custody. Legal custody is the concept that although parents are getting a divorce, they are not divorcing the children. Parents should continue working together to discuss, make decisions and have access to information regarding the health, welfare, schooling, etc. regarding their children. Joint legal custody means that the parents should share in the major decisions involving their children such as schooling, elective health decisions and activity involvement that spans into both parent’s child sharing time.
Sole legal custody means that one parent makes these decisions, although both parents will usually have access to the health care and schooling information regarding a child.
Physical custody refers to how the child is physically shared, i.e., does the child live primarily with one parent and visit the other? A parenting plan generally includes legal and physical custody, weekly, school break and holiday sharing details.
Often, when child sharing disputes occur they are usually related to unresolved emotional issues between the parents. For example, if the parent that has been primarily responsible for raising the children wants to leave the relationship, the parent being left may all of a sudden want “50-50” custody so they do not feel that they are losing everything. Or the parent being left in the relationship should not have time with the children because they believe that the other parent is destroying the family. Or, one of the spouses could be abusive or controlling. All of these scenarios can result in long and expensive court battles, delays, restraining orders and damage to the children.
In our firm, we offer a unique balance of a family law attorney with extensive litigation and mediation experience and a parent educator whose reputation is truly international related to conflictual child sharing issues. We offer separate child sharing mediation, parenting education (both live and online) along with a legal/mediation approach to child sharing issues that are designed to strengthen parenting skills and end the conflict using the skills learned through the parenting program as well as the knowledge about what issues need court action and which ones are a waste of time and money.