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The different components of child custody

When people goes through a divorce, they may have a lot on their minds. One's financial future, emotional recovery, and the logistics of one's new living arrangements may be enough to stress one out. Yet, in many instances, no other issue is more emotional and contested than child custody. Though parents can oftentimes come to a mutual agreement about how to divide their time with their child, sometimes the matter is more divisive.

Therefore, those facing marriage dissolution and a child custody battle should familiarize themselves with the different types of child custody so that they know what they want to fight for. Essentially, there are two components to Louisiana child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child will be living. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the legal authority to make major life decisions for the child, including those related to health, education, and religion.

Each component of child custody can be shared jointly, or held solely by one parent. Therefore, a mother could have sole physical custody, but both parents may still share legal custody. Or the parents can have joint legal and physical custody, whereby the child will split his or her time with the parents, and each parent has equal say in decisions regarding the child.

Though there may be legitimate reasons to seek sole custody, parents should be sure to recognize that child custody arrangements should always be made with the child's best interests in mind. In other words, parents should not use their child as a bargaining chip. Those who have legitimate concerns about how their child custody issues may play out in court may wish to think about discussing the matter with a qualified legal professional.

Source: FindLaw, "The Various Types of Child Custody," accessed on Jan. 9, 2016

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