When you file for a divorce in a Kansas court, you no doubt understand that it has implications on the lives of your children. As you and your kids move on in life, things will be different, at least in connection with your family life. Before you can achieve a settlement, you and your spouse must resolve child custody issues.
Child custody is a broad term that refers to numerous, specific legal statuses. Before heading to court in a divorce that involves children, it is best to make sure that you understand each type of custody and any particular relevance it might have in your case.
Physical child custody refers to which parent your kids live with
If you have physical custody of your children after your divorce, it means that the court has granted you permission to be the custodial parent, which is to have your children live with you full time. Your ex might then have visitation privileges. You might also decide that it is best for your children if you and your ex share physical custody of your kids. In this case, they’d divide their time between both households.
Decision-making authority is referred to as legal child custody
As your children grow, they will need at least one parent to make decisions on their behalf. When the court awards legal custody, it means that one or both parents have been granted decision-making authority for any and all important issues, such as health care, education, matters of faith, financial issues and more. If you have sole legal custody, you need not consult your ex before making a decision on behalf of your children.
Sole custody versus shared custody
As mentioned earlier, you and your ex might agree to share child custody in your divorce. On the other hand, if there are extenuating issues that you believe may place your children at risk in such circumstances, you might find it best to request sole child custody. In this case, your kids would live with you full time, and you would have autonomy to make decisions on their behalf.
Most Kansas family court judges believe children fare best in shared child custody arrangements after their parents divorce. However, the court always has children’s best interests in mind when making custody decisions. If you demonstrate evidence to show that your ex is unfit for custody, the court may use its discretion to restrict his or her interactions in the children’s lives or may prohibit them altogether, if necessary. The goal is to determine a plan that helps children continue to thrive in spite of the changes divorce causes in their lives.