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Custody: A Single Parenting Issue

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The biggest issue in any divorce is who has custody of the children. For people who have never been divorced whether because they remained married or are singles, custody rules sometimes seem to make no sense from an outsider's point of view. However, custody is a single parenting issue that is carefully looked at by the courts and arranged by the divorcing parties.

More and more courts are favoring joint custody, however, this doesn't really simplify issue. A couple can have two different types of custody with joint custody: legal and physical custody. Many outsiders do not understand the difference and instead make snap judgments about a single parenting issue they know nothing about.

Joint physical custody is when the child lives with both parents in anything from a 30/70 split to an even 50/50 split in time. Joint physical custody gives both parents the right to raise their children in their homes and it does affect the amount of child support any spouse might be mandated to pay, usually reducing the amount with an increase in time.

Joint legal custody allows the non-custodial parent the right to view the child's private records (for example medical or educational) and also the right to be involved in any major decisions made in behalf of the child. Being awarded legal custody doesn't have any bearing on child support payments on the amount of time the child spends with the non-custodial parent.

Thus, when outsiders wonder why someone has joint custody and is paying child support payments that don't seem appropriate, it's probably because they have joint legal custody and not joint physical custody. Thus, it can be seen that custody is a single parenting issue that is not as simple as it seems.

In addition, one can have joint physical custody, but it can be secondary physical custody. There can be a primary physical custody and a secondary custody assigned. The parent assigned primary physical custody is the one to have custody on a day-to-day and regular basis. The parent that has secondary physical custody is assigned visitation rights usually alternating weekends, holidays, and time during the summer vacation.

Child support, another single parenting issue, is based on the amount of money both parents made while married and the amount each contributed to the total household income. In addition, the amount of time spent in physical custody between the two parents after divorce is taken into account.

If there is a disparity of income between the parents, then this must be taken into account to provide the child the same standard of living they had while the couple was married. It may seem like someone with joint custody should not have to pay child support, from an outsider's point of view, but the child support is not based solely on custody.

In the end, the courts try to make a fair assessment of what is in the best interests of the child when determining child custody and support. This is the most intricate single parenting issue to resolve before partners split up and oftentimes, outsiders do not understand the amount of time and effort it took to establish the guidelines in fairness to all involved.


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