You may have just recently divorced from your spouse. After the initial shock and many questions regarding the entire ordeal, there are children whose feelings should also be considered. It took time to go through the divorce process and now you have finally made it to the other side. Your family needs you more than ever to put them first and help them make the transition as smooth as possible. It is also a good idea for you and your former spouse to respect each other. You should show your children that it is all right for them to love both you and your former spouse.
What about your children?
After your divorce, you will hear terms like custodial parent and non-custodial parent. The custodial parent is the one the child lives with. The non-custodial is the one the child does not live with. There are also different types of custody legal, physical and joint custody.
Physical custody is the parent who spends more time with the children after a divorce.
Legal custody entitles you to make all the decisions affecting the children, such as schools, religion, health care and more. Sometimes legal custody can be shared with the non-custodial parent. It just depends on your wishes.
Joint custody is when the child spends equal time at both homes. You should also explain to your children the importance of having two homes now and how important it is for them to be happy at both. That also may include making new friends at both. It is also a good idea to be consistent about the rules and discipline at both homes.
Child custody laws differ by state. If you live in Georgia, the law recognizes four different types of custody:
- Joint legal custody is when both parents make decisions about the child, including things such as doctor visits and school.
- Joint physical custody means that the parents equally share physical time with the child.
- Joint custody means that can have joint legal custody, joint physical custody or both.
- Sole custody is when one parent has sole legal and sole physical custody of the child, and makes all decisions about the child and has the majority of physical time with the child. The parent has a right to visitation with the child.
When it comes to visitation, the judge determines these rights. The Sixth District Courts Information Center offers several good tips on visitation. There are two types of visitation:
- It could be what is called reasonable visitation- this is when the judge asks both parents to work together to plan a visitation time that works with both parent’s schedules. However, the custodial parent can have more power over what is sensible in terms of length and times. If the judge sees that either parent is trying to be malicious and not willing to work with the other parent, he can schedule a fixed visitation.
- Fixed visitation- this is when the judge orders a set schedule for the non-custodial parent to follow. It will tell the places and times for them to meet with the children. For example, a parent can visit every Tuesday, Thursday evenings and possibly holidays. This fixed schedule is made when parents cannot work together to come to an agreement.
Unfortunately, divorce is prevalent in America. According to Psychology Today, it happens in 40 to 50 percent of marriages. Be the best parent you can be by understanding what is best for your kids. Do some research or talk to a legal professional to understand what the Georgia law says each parent has the right to.