CUSTODY AND PARENTING SCHEDULES
The legal term custody refers to the right of a parent to make the important decisions in their child’s life, including decisions about education, religion, and medical treatment. This is distinct from the actual residential arrangements and parenting schedule between separated parents. It is possible for parents to have joint custody of a child even though the child resides primarily with only one of the parents. Both parents have an equal right to custody until the parents agree otherwise or a court orders otherwise.
A court will generally prefer joint custody in situations where the parents are able to cooperate regarding decisions involving their children. This is the case even where the child lives with one parent most of the time and the other parent has visitation (access). Sole custody occurs when one parent has the sole authority to make decisions regarding the children. The other parent in this case will generally have the right of access and the right to be given information concerning the children’s health, education and welfare.
Parents may agree to more specific custody arrangements such as a decision-making process wherein all major decisions must be discussed in advanced and agreed to by the parties (or referred to mediation or arbitration if the parents cannot agree), or one parent may be responsible for certain types of decisions while the other parent is responsible for other decisions (ie. one parent makes education decisions and the other makes medical decisions).
In all cases, the primary factor in deciding custody and access issues is what arrangements are in the best interests of the children.
Feel free to contact us at any point for assistance or advice with respect to Family Law. We may be reached at 705.435.4339 or contact us via email.