When it comes to child custody cases, you and your spouse will have to reach two basic agreements. Those are 1) how the legal custody of your children will be shared, and 2) how the physical custody of your children will be shared. Legal custody pertains to how decisions such as medical, educational, and even religious issues are reached. Physical custody pertains to how much time children spend with each of their parents. If you're trying to negotiate a custody agreement without the help of an attorney, you'll need to understand the different types of custody arrangements that are available to you. Here's a brief explanation of each of the three custody options.

Primary Physical Custody

If you've been primary caregiver for your children, you may want to consider asking for primary custody. With primary custody, the children will spend the bulk of their time with you. You may be the primary decision-maker for your children, as well. However, even with primary physical custody, you may still share legal custody. This means that while the children will spend the bulk of their time with you, both you and your spouse will be responsible for making joint legal decisions.

Shared Physical Custody

If your children have been cared for equally by you and your spouse, you should consider shared physical custody. This is particularly true if your children have a strong, loving bond with both of their parents. With shared custody, your children will split their time evenly with both parents. If your children are in school, the time can be split up around school schedules, such as one parent gets the children during the school year, while the other parent gets weekends and vacations. If you and your spouse are going to continue living nearby, shared custody allows your kids to spend equal time with both parents while still attending the same school.

Split Physical Custody

If your children are old enough to choose where they want to be, you may want to consider split physical custody, especially if each of your children wants to be with a different parent. Split physical custody allows each of your children to reside with a different parent for the bulk of the time. While this option isn't suited for everyone, it does work well with older children.

Now that it's time to make custody arrangements, make sure choose an arrangement that works best for you and your kids. If you and your spouse are at odds over custody arrangements, be sure to retain legal services as soon as possible. Contact a lawyer like Gregory J Hermiller for more assistance.