Your children mean everything to you. You want to ensure their safety and well-being are handled appropriately. Some terms that will be used throughout the process:
Legal custody refers to making major decisions in a child's life, such as medical treatment, school, and religion.
Physical custody refers to who cares for the children and who is in charge of their daily routines.
Parenting time is the schedule of where the child puts his/her head on the pillow each night or the time spent with each parent.
Custody and parenting time will be determined with what is in the "the best interests of the children." However, those that are getting divorced may have different views of what is best for their child. Resolution happens in only one of two ways - either the parents reach an agreement on custody/parenting time, or the judge makes the decision for them. In both cases, many factors come into play. What is the physical and mental heaIth of each parent? Is there history of abuse? What is the children's relationship with each parent?
There are a lot of options to help guide conversations and try to reach an agreement - such as a SENE (social early neutral evaluation), evaluative mediation, child-inclusive mediation, brief focused assessment, or custody evaluation.
There are specific state guidelines that calculate how much financial support parents need to contribute to their kids. This includes basic support (roof over head, food, clothing, etc.), medical insurance, and daycare costs. Child support is based off the overnights with each parent. The more the child is with you, the more you are providing directly to the child, and the less financial support to the other parent.