Going through a divorce as a parent can be extremely challenging, especially for dads. In North Carolina and elsewhere, fathers sometimes get the short end of the stick, so to speak, when it comes to child custody. Things are changing, and this is a problem that is slowly getting better over time, but many dads do still find they have to fight harder than mothers do for the custody arrangements they want. Right or wrong, it is just the way it is.
When it comes to custody, there are two types of which fathers need to be aware. Those are physical and legal custody. What is the difference, and why do dads need to consider both when figuring out custody arrangements?
This is the type of custody most people think of when they hear the words “child custody.” It refers to with which parent a child will spend his or her time. There are two types of physical custody: sole and joint. A parent given sole custody will have the child reside with that parent full time, whereas with joint custody, a child will split time living with each parent.
Legal custody has to do with decision-making. If you want a say in where your child goes to school, what church they will attend, what type of medical care they will receive, and a million other decisions that come with raising a child, you need to have some level of legal custody. When married, these are all things you and your spouse work out, but when divorced, you only get a say if the courts grant you sole or joint legal custody.
Fight for what you think is best for your family
You may have a good enough relationship with your soon-to-be ex that you can both come to terms regarding child custody that you both agree are fair. If you cannot, you may have to fight for what you think is best for your family because you and your ex have different ideas on what that is. If you are in the latter position, it is okay. You do not have to fight for a fair custody agreement on your own.
With the right help in your corner, you can seek the physical and legal custody arrangements that allow you to remain an active participant in your child’s life. It can be a tough fight, but it is one worth going through.