August 21, 2017

Child Custody

The family law and child custody attorneys at Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon have extensive experience handling all types of child custody cases on both the trial and appellate level.

Often, one of the most contested portions of a family law case is which parent will receive custody of the minor children. The central issue in determining an award of child custody is the best interests of the child.

There are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody.

Physical custody is the parent with whom the child lives and is primarily responsible for the day to day care of the child. There are two types of physical custody, sole physical custody or shared physical custody. Sole physical custody indicates that a child primarily resides with one parent. Joint or shared physical custody indicates that each parent spends a significant amount of the time with the child.

Legal custody is the right to decide major life decisions affecting the child, including but not limited to major medical decisions, educational placements and religious affiliation. Legal custody may be solely vested in one parent or both parents may be awarded joint legal custody. An award of joint legal custody requires both parents to discuss and agree upon major issues relating to the child’s welfare, medical care, education and religious instruction. An award of sole legal custody allows one parent to make all of the major life decisions regarding the child without the need to obtain the consent of the other parent.

If parents are able to agree to custody issues and agree upon a parenting plan, an agreement outlining those issues may be addressed. However, at times the circumstances may require a parent to insist upon (or defend) sole custody claims based on allegations of domestic violence, physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness or drug abuse. family law and child custody attorneys have extensive experience handling these high-conflict cases on both the trial and appellate level.