Alpharetta Child Custody Lawyers

Everything You Need to Know About Child Custody Agreements

There are few questions as potentially divisive and difficult as figuring out how to separate from a partner and decide how you will care for your children without living together. As a result, our society depends on laws to help people navigate this complicated process. Every year, people in the United States spend more than $11 billion on the services of family law and divorce lawyers to help them with a child custody agreement or another family issue.

The more important your child custody agreement is to you, the more you might want to learn a little bit more about what kinds of child custody agreements are out there. Read on to learn all about the most important things to understand about child custody agreements and what your legal options might be!

Hobson & Hobson, P.C is comprised of highly trained child custody attorneys in Alpharetta, Georgia that rely on our special litigation training and over 30 years of combined experience in child custody cases to provide each client with an effective outcome while supporting yourself and your family. Contact us at  770-284-6153 or submit a contact form for us to contact you ASAP.

What Is Child Physical and Legal Custody?

Most people have a vague sense of what child custody is. They know it is something that occurs after a divorce or separation. They know that it governs visitation rights and other related issues.

However, understanding child custody more clearly can help you better navigate the legal system.

When two spouses are married, they are automatically afforded equal rights and responsibilities. But after a divorce, that ratio might shift. One spouse or the other might end up with a greater share of rights or responsibilities.

Child custody will often assign one parent to be the custodial parent. That term refers to whichever parent ends up with primary custody of a child. Depending on the situation, different parents might be the custodial parent for different children.

Different Types of Child Custody

There are basically four kinds of custody that you need to understand. The first two are physical custody and legal custody. The last two are sole custody and joint custody.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to which parent physically takes care of the child the majority of the time. In many cases, whichever parent has physical custody will also have to accommodate the visitation rights that the other parent will have.

Many people are under the misconception that the mother almost always wins physical custody. The truth is that the mother ends up with physical custody only about half of the time.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is about who has the right to make decisions about a child. For example, a parent with legal custody will have the power to determine who provides medical treatment to their child.

Legal custody and physical custody do not always go together. For example, one parent might have physical custody. But both parents might have to agree about who provides medical treatment for their child.

In other words, both parents might share legal custody. That will make them jointly responsible for whether or not their child attends one school or another, or signs up for religious or sports training.

Sole Custody

Sole custody is like a combination of sole physical and sole legal custody. One parent might have complete physical custody as well as total legal custody of their child. The other parent will not have any rights to determine the child’s legal situation or their habitation situation.

Sole custody mostly happens when one parent is unfit according to the judgment of a court of law. Even then, the unfit parent will often have at least some physical or legal custody rights. However, in more extreme cases, an unfit parent might forfeit all of their rights and the other parent will maintain complete custody over their child.

Joint Custody

Joint custody is when both parents share physical and legal custody. Many people consider it to be the ideal scenario. However, it can be difficult to arrange if the two former spouses are not easily able to cooperate.

Pathways to Resolving Child Custody Questions

Child custody can be determined in court. However, people can also resolve things outside of court.

Many people prefer to use mediation to help them hash out what they want their child custody agreement to look like. As long as everybody agrees, they can then bring their proposal to court to have it officially recognized.

In other cases, people use informal negotiations to create a child custody agreement. Whether in negotiation or mediation, people may often turn to legal counsel to help them achieve the child custody agreement that they desire.

At the end of one of these pathways, people often end up putting together a parenting agreement. Although it is finalized and signed outside of court, people will then usually submit these documents to a judge.

The judge can technically decline to approve a parenting agreement. However, as long as everybody agrees, the judge will generally approve the parenting agreement.

Balancing Father Rights and Mother Rights in Mediation

Before going into mediation, it generally helps for both parents to think through their individual ideal child custody agreement. However, they need to understand that they may not get this ideal.

On top of that, it often helps for both parties to consider the values and concerns of the other party.

After all of this, both parents need to think through what a realistic child custody agreement would look like for them. For this, it often helps to have legal counsel. They can inform parents about what they can probably get and what they probably can’t.

Understand the Most Important Things to Know About a Child Custody Agreement 

We hope learning a little bit more about how a child custody agreement works has been helpful for you. Many people feel a lot of apprehension as the time for them to figure out their child custody arrangement approaches. However, knowing more about the process can relieve a lot of that anxiety.

On top of that, knowing the possible types of child custody agreements can help you better understand what you should expect during the legal process. To learn more about child custody agreements or to speak with experts who can help you get the type of agreement you are interested in, feel free to reach out and get in touch with us here at any time!

Seek legal advice from the best child custody attorneys for the best outcome. Some child custody attorneys are after getting your money. If you land in the hands of such lawyers, you will not get the kind of help you need. Always seek legal advice from a licensed, experienced, and reputable Alpharetta child custody attorney at Hobson & Hobson.