Child custody is likely to be one of the most contentious issues in family law. Regardless of their relationship to each other, most parents have very strong feelings regarding the custody of their children. As a very experienced child custody attorney in Richmond VA, Jonathan Murdoch-Kitt, can help you navigate the issues of custody with the other parent or their attorney to find a long-term solution. Jonathan will also consult with you to make sure you understand all of the issues surrounding and ramifications regarding custody. Because of his extensive experience, he can help you troubleshoot problems with an agreement or in Court and advise you on how to avoid pitfalls. If communication breaks down, Jonathan Murdoch-Kitt is also ready to fight for you, to effectively resolve the issues regarding child custody in or out of Court.
Types of Child Custody
The term child custody refers to two different things: legal custody and physical custody. Physical custody refers to where the children live primarily, and generally the address used for school enrollment. Parents can share (joint) physical custody, or one parent may have sole physical custody. Regardless of who is awarded physical custody, the other parent will still have visitation with the children, in most situations.
Legal custody refers to who will make major decisions regarding the health, education, religious and moral upbringing of your children. In practical terms this means where they will go to school, what medical care they will receive, what religious activities they will attend, and in which extracurricular activities your children may participate. Both parents may have legal custody regardless of where the children live or what physical custody arrangement is in place.
Child Custody Options
Several combinations of custody are available to parents making this difficult decision: sole physical/ sole legal, joint physical/joint legal or sole physical/joint legal.
Sole Custody (sometimes called full custody in layman’s terms.)
Either parent can have sole physical/sole legal custody. This means one parent would live with the child most of the time and make all of the legal decisions regarding their care and upbringing.
Joint Custody (Shared)
With joint physical/joint legal custody the children would spend roughly an equal amount of time with each parent, and the parents would discuss all major legal decisions concerning the children before a joint decision is made. Joint custody may still be appropriate even if the children live with one parent more of the time, as long as the other parent is significantly involved.
Sole Physical & Joint Legal Custody
With sole physical/joint legal, the children would live mostly with one parent, but both parents would be involved in major legal decision making.
Split Custody is another type of custody arrangement, in which one parent would have custody of one child, and the other parent would have custody of the other child.
Jonathan will work with you, listen to you and help when you are deciding what is best for your unique situation. He has over 40 years of experience helping families creatively resolve the issue of child custody and visitation. As you can see from the above there are many options and a lot of room for creativity.
There are also special circumstances, such as a military deployment, or a child relocating with a parent who is moving which can greatly affect your agreement or current Order. When situations rapidly change, we recommend that you call Jonathan Murdoch-Kitt. He will discuss your unique situation and help you come up with a reasonable solution for your family.