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Understanding different types of custody arrangements

Divorce is stressful, but it's even more complex when you have kids and you must negotiate custody arrangements with your ex. You probably had not thought much about custody prior to your separation, but now it is a decision that you must face. Finding the right solution for your kids is the most important part of this process, and according to Huffington Post, it is also the key to prioritizing their wellbeing.

Every family's situation is different, and custody certainly is not a one-size-fits-all decision. Collaborating with your ex and a legal representative can help you make the choice that will facilitate a smooth transition for your kids.

Legal custody

The term legal custody refers to the ability of one parent to make decisions regarding their child's life and upbringing. Some of the matters that legal custody may affect include medical care, religious involvement, schooling and lifestyle. The parent who maintains legal custody has the ability to make these and other important decisions. 

Physical custody

Physical custody, on the other hand, has to do with the location of a child's residence. A child will typically live with the parent who holds this custody, though both parents may share the responsibility. Maintaining physical custody does not grant a parent the rights afforded by legal custody, and likewise, legal custody does not imply that a child should live with a parent.

Sole or shared custody

When it comes to both the residential and legal responsibility for a child, parents may either share custody or designate it to only one. In the former case, parents may negotiate to share legal and physical custody of children. In the latter, one parent has complete legal and physical responsibility for the child. Generally, shared custody is more beneficial to kids who are adjusting to the changes that accompany their parents' divorce.

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Divorce: a Practical Guide

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