Rockville, MD family law attorney Stuart Knotts Skok talks about the common issues she sees in child custody cases.
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Custody issues generally fall into two categories. You’ve got legal custody issues and physical custody issues. So legal custody issues have to do with legal decisions that parents make. Where does the child go to school? Their medical providers. Their religion. Even things like extracurricular activities. Camps. These are all legal decisions. And when parents are going through a divorce, often times they disagree fundamentally about what their children might need. Maybe one parent believes private school is necessary, and the other parent doesn’t.
So the court has to resolve that issue determine which parent is more fit to make that decision or should these parents be required to make efforts to make those decisions jointly if the court believes they can efficiently communicate with one another. Then on the other side is the physical custody. So those physical custody issues have to do with where the child or children spend their days and nights and overnights. You know, which parent at which household during the schoolyear, during the summer, holidays, etcetera. How do you divide up all this time?
You know, this can become quite contentious as well. And it feeds into child support because child support depends on physical custody, where the child spends the night dictates who pays child support and how much. So it kind of wraps into the physical custody disputes. But those are the two, sort of, overarching categories of custody issues that come into play.