If you have children and are going through a divorce you are probably thinking of custody arrangements. Custody plays a very important role in a divorce and can be the major stressor for both parents. Thus, it is important to educate yourself on what is normal for custody arrangements and what you should expect.
1. You Will Probably Have Joint Custody
There are few situations where the parents do not have joint custody of the children. There may be a difference in how much time each parent has with the child, but the actual legal claim to the children remains the same. You should expect that you and your spouse will share custody of the children.
The only exception to this is if you have a parent who has abandoned the family, or who is abusive. In order to prove the abuse you have to have some sort of documentation, testimony and obvious verification that the abuse happens and that it is severe. It cannot be "emotional" abuse. It generally has to be either physical or sexual in nature. However, if you can prove that one parent has been physically or sexually abusing the children, it is probable that they will lose all custody rights. The second reason is if the person has not paid child support and has abandoned the child, you can have the parental rights revoked. But you generally only do that if you have another person who wants to adopt the children.
2. One Parent Might Have Physical Custody
Even though you share custody of the children, one parent generally has physical custody. This means that the children spend the majority of time with this parent. They are the ones who take them to the doctor, are the primary parent at the school, and so forth. The other parent then would need to pay child support. The child support is calculated based on how much time each parent spends with the kids. The less time you have the children, the more you will pay in child support.
Additionally, you should expect to share the cost of all medical bills, extracurricular activities and any extra expenses. Both parents will have to pay for some of the child's lifestyle and both parents will get to have a say in activities that the child is involved in.
As you can see there is a lot to think about when it comes to custody arrangements during a divorce. Contact a family law attorney for help.