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Various child custody options can impact your family

You and your spouse have decided to get a divorce. Naturally, what this means for your money may worry you. However, most importantly, how the divorce will affect your children -- and your relationships with them -- may be a concern to you.

Various types of child custody exist, with each having a unique impact on your relationships with your children. Here is a glimpse at the various types and what they mean for your family following divorce in West Virginia.

Physical custody

This is likely the type of custody with which you are the most familiar. If a judge grants you physical custody, this means your children can live with you. With sole physical custody, your children will remain with you alone, with the other party receiving limited custody or visitation rights. Meanwhile, with joint physical custody, your children will split significant amounts of time between you and the other parent.

However, it is likely that you will receive a joint physical custody award only if you plan to live near the other parent. After all, if you both are not geographically close to each other, this may place unnecessary strain on your children.

Legal custody

If you receive a legal custody award, this means you can make decisions regarding your children's upbringing, health and education. In other words, you can determine where to send your children to school, what religious practices your children will adopt and what type of medical treatment your children will receive. With joint legal custody, both you and the other parent will jointly make childrearing decisions.

Your rights in a child custody case

If you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, the child custody aspect of the divorce proceeding does not necessarily have to be a battle. Instead, you and your future ex-spouse can work together on a mutually satisfactory parenting plan at the negotiation table or during divorce mediation. This is a much less hostile process than going to divorce court to fight over who gets custody of the children.

If you end up resolving your child custody issues outside of family law court, a judge will likely accept your and the other party's agreement as long as it is fair and, most importantly, takes into consideration the best interests of the children.

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Joseph Brophy Cordell, Attorney at Law
115 1/2 West King Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401

Phone: 304-707-0673
Fax: 304-263-3378
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