As a Washington couple prepares to divorce, there are often numerous decisions to be made. In addition to how assets will be divided and who will be responsible for paying specific liabilities, decisions regarding any children need to be made. These decisions often revolve around the type of custody arrangement and where will the children live. In an ideal situation, the parents are able to work this out; however, it is still a good idea to review the situation and agreement with one's family law attorney.
Physical custody refers to which parent the children will live with a majority of the time. Many times, physical custody is awarded to one parent in an effort to minimize the upheaval caused by the children constantly moving between homes. This is the individual who will provide the day-to-day care for the children. Physical custody does not, however, mean that the other parent is not a part of the children's lives; this parent typically maintains visitation rights on a regular, ongoing basis.
Legal custody refers to how decisions regarding the children will be made. Many times, the parents are awarded joint legal custody. In this case, both parents are responsible for making decisions regarding their children's education, religion, health and other important matters.
Custody decisions affect not only the Washington couple but also any children that they have. Regardless of any disagreement that the parents may have, children generally benefit from spending time with both parents. An experienced family law attorney can help a client work out the details and hopefully create a situation that is in the best interest of the children.
Source: family.findlaw.com, "The Various Types of Child Custody", Accessed on June 18, 2017