On Long Island, one of the most important details that is handled during a divorce is child custody. There are many different aspects of child custody that need to be discussed when parents are getting divorced. Some of these aspects include sole custody with visitation vs. shared custody, shared decision-making, and how often and when time will be divided between parents.
Shared custody is similar to joint custody. Shared custody focuses on time being equally split between parents, while joint custody refers to tasks and responsibilities being split between the parents. Shared custody is typically easier for the child. Shared custody requires the parents to live near each other to allow the child to attend one school and keep one core group of friends. Shared custody also needs the parents to be on good terms with each other. They need to be able to work with each other and cooperate. Joint custody splits tasks and responsibilities of parenthood between the parents. For example, one parent may spend more physical time with the child, while the other has more responsibility. Joint custody also requires a set schedule that alternates the time the child spends with each parent.
Sole custody is another potential outcome when dealing with child custody during a divorce. Sole custody is typically uncommon. This outcome is used when one parent is seen as “unfit” to care for a child due to drug use or abuse. When sole custody is the outcome in a case, the parent that does not receive custody (the “noncustodial” parent) is usually allowed visitations. If the divorce involved violence or child abuse, these visitations will likely be supervised. There are two types of sole custody, sole physical custody and sole legal custody. Sole physical custody means that the child will live with and be cared for by one parent. The other parent may have visitations with the child so long as the visits are in the child’s best interests. Sole legal custody means that one parent has the absolute ability to make developmental decisions for the child. These decisions cover a range of topics including education, medical care, religion and welfare.
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