Best Interests of the Child
When parents do not live together, they must arrange how they will share their parenting rights and responsibilities. If the parents cannot come to an agreement on their own, a court may decide based upon what is in the best interests of the child. In family law matters concerning children, a child’s best interests are the most important consideration.
There are two aspects to what parents must decide about their children. First, parents must decide how they will make major decisions about their children such as what school the children will attend and where the children live. Second, they must decide on what residential arrangements are best for the children.
If the parties agree to make major decisions together, this is called “joint custody.” If the parents disagree on major decisions, one parent cannot make the decision without the agreement of the other. Disagreements must be resolved by another process. If one parent can make the decision after consultation with the other parent, this is called “sole custody.”
The custody arrangement does not affect where a child will live. For example, even if one parent has custody, the parents may each equally share time with the child. Or, a child may live primarily with one parent, but that parent may not have sole decision making authority and decisions might have to be made by both parents.
The law team at Kelly D. Jordan Family Law Firm can assist you to resolve the parenting arrangements for your children, whether that is through negotiation with the help of lawyers, mediation, arbitration or litigation.