Child Custody Attorney in Mequon, WI
When your marriage ends, your role as a parent does not – and neither does your former spouse’s. You both love your children and want what’s best for them. Now that you’re divorcing, you must decide legal custody and placement issues. How well the two of you handle these decisions will have great impact on how well your children cope with their parents' separation as well as their emotional well-being during and after your divorce. Child custody and placement decisions also must be made in paternity cases by parents who have never married. This includes cases that began with the filing of a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. Generally, child custody and placement laws assume that children are healthiest and happiest when they have good relationships with both parents. When parents divorce, the court must make orders about decision-making and periods of physical placement with each parent. The term "visitation" is used for other relatives, but not for parents. In most cases, the parents reach their own custody and placement agreements that the court then approves. Legal rules and terms come into play throughout the process of creating a custody and placement agreement.
What is legal custody?
This is the legal right to make major decisions about your children. Major decisions cover such matters as non-emergency health care and choice of school and religion. Others include parental consent to marry, obtain a driver’s license, or join the military. Legal custody can be joint or sole – it means who decides. It does not mean where the children live.
How do joint legal custody and sole legal custody differ?
Joint legal custody means both parents have equal rights to make major decisions about their children; decisions should be made jointly after consultation since neither parent's rights are superior. Sole legal custody means only one parent has the right to make such decisions. The court also may order that one parent or the other has the sole right to make certain major decisions, such as education. Joint legal custody is presumed unless there is an agreement otherwise or specific reasons for a court to grant sole custody, such as domestic violence.
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