In our experience as divorce lawyers in Washington DC, we find that child custody and visitation are arguably the most important considerations to make in the case of divorce. Nothing is more important than assuring that the children involved in a divorce acquire the best care and guardianship to allow for an attentive and supportive environment. Judges generally believe joint custody to be in the best interest of the child, yet each case is different and may (although not often) require that one parent is granted sole custody.
There are two types of custody to consider:
- Physical custody pertains to parents having physical responsibility for the daily care of the child, which determines the child’s living arrangements and visitation schedule.
- Legal custody pertains to legal responsibility for the child. This determines the authority of both parents to make legal decisions regarding the children, access to personal information of the children, and delegation of parental responsibilities.
For a better understanding of what custody may look like in your situation, here are some factors divorce lawyers in Washington DC know are worth noting:
- The wishes of the child and parents
- The mental and physical health of each parent and child
- The child’s relationship with either parent, siblings, other relatives, and any other relevant people
- The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community
- The proximity of the parent’s homes to each other and the child’s school
- The willingness of the parents to share custody
- The demands of parental employment
- The parents’ ability to financially support a joint custody arrangement
Again, sole custody is rare because the law sees joint custody to be in the best interest of the child. However, as experienced DC divorce lawyers we have seen that there are times when sole custody may be necessary. Often one parent will be given sole custody of a child if the other parent has a history of child abuse or domestic violence, or if that parent struggles with drug addiction. However, this does not always terminate that parent’s visitation rights. Most parents have at least the right to visit their children, even if it is supervised, which is typically the case for parents with a history of abusive behavior. Contact the best divorce lawyers in Washington DC as soon as possible to assure your child’s future is in the right hands.