Of course! You will have to think very carefully about your life and your children’s lives before deciding on a custody arrangement that works best for all of you. Your work schedule, frequency of travel, living arrangements and your children’s schooling and activities will all play a role in your custody options—and you should know what you’re fighting for well before the date of your deposition.
Here are the most common custody options available to a divorced parent:
- Sole custody (children live with one parent). In this arrangement, one parent is primarily responsible for the child’s health, education, medical needs, and religious upbringing. The non-custodial parent is usually granted visitations, and holidays may be split or alternate between households.
- Joint custody. In joint or shared custody, children will spend a certain portion of the year with each parent. (This is different from joint legal custody, which dictates that both parents share equal responsibility and authority for decisions that affect the children.)
- Split custody. Far less common than the other arrangements, split custody involves children spending an extended period of time with one parent, and then the other. This typically is considered disruptive to the children, so is not recommended except in special cases.
Before you choose a custody plan, consider your future life. Will you begin dating? Are you already in a new relationship? Do you want to share your home with your children full-time? Will your children benefit more from living with you, or your ex? Remember: there are no wrong answers to these questions, only truthful ones—and acknowledging the truth now will save you a lot of grief in the future.