Going through a divorce is a highly emotional time, made even more so when it is complicated by the presence of children. Whilst the father is often happy to give the mother custody of his offspring with regular visitation rights, the situation will sometimes arise when both parents believe that they are the only one who is fit to have custody of their kids. This is why custody agreements are often the most difficult part of a divorce proceeding and why you should seek advice from a family law lawyer in Melbourne.
Whilst the decision regarding custody can be made all the more easier if there have been circumstances of neglect or abuse, this is actually a fairly rare situation for lawyers to find themselves in. Instead, there are four types of custody that you can file for; your family law lawyer will be able to advise you as to which type you should be seeking, as well as your likelihood of success.
- Physical custody refers to a situation in which the children will live with you. Your ex partner might still have visitation rights (a night or a weekend), but their primary residence is with you.
- Legal custody refers to which parent has a say in the care, education, medical requirements and religious beliefs of the children. In most cases, both parents share this area.
- Joint custody refers to both parents getting to spend an equal amount of time with their children. This can be very difficult if the parents live far away from each other, as it really disrupts the child’s routine.
- Sole custody refers to one parent having full custody of the couple’s children, most often because the court has found the other parent to be unfit. The other parent may still apply for visitation rights.
If you believe that your ex partner is unfit to provide a safe living environment for the children that you share with them, speaking to a family law lawyer in Melbourne should be your first move. Your lawyer will be able to assist you in fighting the courts for the type of custody that you are seeking, as well as gather witnesses and other evidence that can help you to argue your case. It is a good idea to contact a family lawyer even if you aren’t sure what your ex partner’s intentions may be regarding custody, as it is always good to know your rights.