What Types of Child Custody Arrangements are Available?
As an Essex County Family Law Attorney, I get questions all the time from clients about the different types of child custody. Custody is one of the most important issues in the case. I really do divide my cases involving children into two components. There’s the money component, which I tell my clients I’m a former auditor; I can do that with one hand tied behind my back. The real issue in the case becomes the children and what do we do to make things as good as they can be for children of a divorced family? We first talk about custody and the types of custody arrangements. There are many different ways that families can decide to move forward in their divorce and work through creative custody solutions. One parent is generally designated the parent of primary residence; this is the parent where the children are going to sleep the majority of the nights during the course of a year. The other parent is the parent of alternate residence; that’s the alternate house where the children stay. We will always develop a parenting time schedule, and the schedule is where the children are sleeping on a particular day in the month.
Joint legal custody, there’s legal custody. Joint legal custody is going to afford both parents access to the children, access to what: to their school, to their doctors, to their records. They’re joint decision-makers for the children on a go-forward basis.
There is a trend that I’m seeing now with very creative parenting time situations to address the busyness of people’s lives. Both parents are working, they’re working outside of the home, they may decide to do a shared parenting arrangement. This where Dad has the kids three days and Mom has the kids four days, or maybe Mom works as a nurse, and works the night shift, so Dad has the kids every night, and Mom just has the kids on the nights that she’s not at the hospital or whatever institution she works in. There’s no right or wrong fit, it’s what works for your family, and a great attorney and a good set of mediators can really help the family navigate the process and pick a custody arrangement that works not for the parents, but it needs to work for the children. We need to keep the children at the forefront of the decision-making.
Have you had trouble figuring out what type of custody works best for your family? Contact our Essex County Family Law Attorney for advice.