A smiling family of four, dressed in colorful autumn clothing, poses in a wooded area with a happy Labrador retriever at the center. The parents and two children wear knitted hats and scarves, enjoying a fall day outdoors.

As divorces proceed, couples need to consider a variety of marital issues. If they are undergoing mediation, they are able to decide on these issues between themselves. Otherwise, a judge will decide on these issues in court. When a judge decides on cases, they will always look out for the best interests of a child involved in child custody arrangements.

Sole custody is a term used to refer to instances where a singular parent is granted legal custody and physical custody of a child. This is usually the case where the other parent is deemed unfit. The parent may be deemed unfit due to abuse, alcoholism, use of drugs or many other factors. They are not given custody of their child. Instead, they may be granted with certain visitation rights. Their visitation time may be the only time they spend with their child and it may also be supervised depending on the situation.

Can legal custody be attained without physical custody?

In situations where one parent is granted physical custody of a child, the other parent may be granted legal custody of the child. With legal custody rights, the parent is able to make decisions for the child regarding aspects of their life. They can make decisions on the child’s education, religion, medical history and more. This keeps the parent involved in the child’s life. Even if they are not granted physical custody, they can still be granted legal custody and have control.

Physical custody names one individual as the custodial parent. As the custodial parent, the child will reside with them. Since the child will live with them, they will spend more time with the child than the other parent. This may entitle them to child support payments. The custodial parent may be providing more for the child on daily basis. This can include daily meals, clothes and any other necessities.

For these arrangements, it is important to focus on the needs of the child. Parents may not get the time they want with their child, but this can change in the future. Certain circumstances can lead a parent to file a motion with the court to modify the custody arrangement. This should only be done if it will benefit the well-being of the child. A judge will try to investigate the matter to determine the best possible outcome for the child’s health and safety.

The divorce process can be challenging, but our team at Ilkhanoff & Silverstein are dedicated to fighting for your best interests. Since 1999, our York divorce lawyers have guided our clients through this emotional and stressful time with compassionate client service and results-driven legal counsel.