By Hayder ShkaraDirector of Melbourne Family Laws
Divorce outcomes of a parent with children always end with legal custody arrangements for the children made in the best interests of the children. There are several ways to settle custody of the child, which are decided either by the child’s parents or by a court.
Couples who cannot amicably discuss, negotiate, and reach agreements about custody outside of the courtroom often rely on the court to review the case and rule for them by issuing a written custody order. The court has a legal duty to order a custody order for parents.
During the divorce settlement, the parents can talk and decide about custody of the child. You can choose the mediation approach that works best for negotiation to get the best custody arrangements without making either partner feel betrayed.
What are the child custody arrangements?
Custody agreements contain agreements and schedules that parents are expected to have during the upbringing of the child despite separation or divorce. Schedules can be performed weekly, monthly, or during vacations and holidays. Other custody arrangements may include child support, special event schedules, child health care, relocation plans, religion, etc.
Custody of the child will be determined after thorough consideration of best custody of the child. This is particularly true with regard to the best interests of the child and how it can help in the upbringing.
There are several existing types of custody arrangements, but there are three most common types: primary custody, joint custody, and sole custody.
The three common custody arrangements
Physical Custody Agreement
In this case, the child lives with the parent who was awarded custody by the court. The parent with such custody is the one who assumes primary custody of the child until some emergency or circumstance justifies the other parent (non-custodial parent) showing up.
However, the court may grant custody to the child’s grandparent if the child’s parents are deceased or unable to exercise custody. The child’s grandparents may also be granted the right to visit the child after they have deemed it suitable for the child.
There may be opportunities to change these custody arrangements if the divorced parents consent to the arrangements or are later found appropriate to exercise custody of the child. Parents should discuss and negotiate their child custody arrangements during a divorce to avoid physical child custody arrangements.
A joint custody arrangement mandates both parents to take an active parental role in raising the child. Each parent is assigned a role and schedule. In some cases, both parents receive a 50-50 custody agreement.
The child is also expected to move from one parent to the other from time to time, depending on court arrangements. Parents can also take their own precautions.
Legal custody may be granted by the court to allow the parents to play an active role in the child’s life and enjoy primary parental care.
There may also be some variations in joint custody: it could be joint custody where the child still moves from one parent to the other. However, the upbringing and schooling of the child is the responsibility of a parent.
With sole custody, one parent has sole custody of the child.
Sole custody is not as common as joint custody and physical custody. It is usually given when a parent appears as potential harm to the child. For example, if a parent is addicted to drugs, mentally unstable, or abusive, the parent is considered a risk to the child’s well-being and is excluded from parental care for the child.
Depending on the law, sole custody may mean sole physical custody or sole legal custody. Both are different types of sole custody arrangements.
In the case of statutory custody arrangements, the parent’s wish has no influence on the custody arrangement. In contrast, the other parent can make decisions about the child’s medical care, schooling, welfare, religion, etc.
Sole custody may involve one parent caring for the child. However, the other parent may be allowed to visit, unless a court orders a restriction based on the risks to the well-being of the child in such situations.
Hayder Shkara is the Director of Melbourne Family Lawyers. He has extensive family law experience but specializes in complex matters of parental and property family law. He lives in Sydney and holds a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Communications degree from UTS. https://www.melbournefamilylawyers.com.au