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Understanding child custody is not always easy

Going through a divorce can present you with many confusing scenarios. Though you likely wish that you could simply sign a piece of paper and have everything settled, that is not how the process works. In fact, you will need to make many decisions during your case, and the court may step in to make some of those decisions.

Because you are a parent, you likely have concerns about child custody in particular. This concern is understandable because you undoubtedly want what is best for your kids and worry that your divorce will negatively affect them. Of course, you want to come to the best arrangement for everyone's post-divorce life, but fully understanding custody is not always easy.

Physical vs legal

One important aspect of child custody you need to understand is that there is physical custody and legal custody. When it comes to physical custody, this type refers to where and with whom the children will live. This is the type of custody that commonly first comes to mind for parents because they immediately think of their future proximity to their kids and their kids' physical well-being.

Another type of custody is legal custody. This type refers to the legal decision-making ability a parent has for his or her children. Often, this includes the decisions related to education, religious upbringing, health care and similar matters.

Joint custody vs sole custody

Another breakdown of custody involves joint custody and sole custody. It is possible for parents to have joint physical custody or sole physical custody as well as joint legal custody or sole legal custody. The arrangements do not have to involve one or the other for both types of custody. For instance, a parent could have sole physical custody of the children, but both parents could maintain joint legal custody. Though the children may live with one parent, both parents may need to come to an agreement about certain decisions.

Finding the right custody arrangement for a particular family is not always easy. If parents cannot come to terms on their own, the court will likely step in to make a decision based on various elements. In order to learn more about the types of custody and what could apply to your case, you may want to obtain the legal counsel of an experienced North Carolina attorney.

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