FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida. Making decisions about where your children will live, how visitation will be arranged, and how your children will be parented after divorce are some of the most emotionally wrenching decisions divorcing couples face. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have recently made headlines in their divorce. Like any couple facing divorce, Jolie and Pitt will have to make decisions regarding where their children will live and how visitation will be arranged.
Jolie and Pitt are divorcing in California, but here in Florida, couples may face similar challenges. Parents will have to decide on physical and legal custody and on visitation schedules. Florida’s legal terms regarding physical and legal custody can be confusing for parents who are not versed in the legal process. The Family Law Department of KO Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale see many cases where individuals struggle to understand their parenting rights and their responsibilities as they go through divorce. For instance, legal custody refers to both parents’ right to make legal decisions regarding their children. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where a child will live.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Jolie and Pitt have reached a three-week deal regarding custody of their six children. In cases where a divorce settlement can be expected to take weeks or months, a temporary deal allows both parents to provide continuity and stability for the children as the divorce proceedings move forward. The Los Angeles Times reports that the deal requires Pitt to undergo drug and alcohol testing, and requires both Pitt and Jolie to undergo counseling on their own. During Pitt’s first visit, a therapist will be present. Jolie will retain custody of the children, and Pitt will have visitation rights until the Los Angeles Department of Children and Families has the opportunity to evaluate the case.
Yet, reports about the Jolie-Pitt split have been conflicting. Some sources, like NY Daily News, call the temporary deal a “joint physical custody deal.” As with all celebrity news, the Pitt-Jolie divorce is clearly a developing matter. Joint physical custody arrangements often involve both parents splitting time with the children as equitably as possible. These arrangements are often considered in the best interests of the children, but tend to work best when parents live close to one another, maintain a fairly amicable friendship, and share co-parenting goals.
Every divorce is unique and not all parents can attain a joint physical custody co-parenting ideal, though many counselors and therapists recommend it. However, even when one parent has sole physical custody, a parenting plan can be written to allow children to enjoy time with both parents. In some cases, the stability of a sole physical custody situation can be better for the children. Individuals need to consider their unique needs, goals, and situation.
In cases of abuse or neglect, child custody matters can be more complicated, because the courts will have to balance the question of a child’s safety with a child’s need to have a relationship with his or her parent. If you have questions about child custody—whether about timesharing schedules a parenting plan, or what standards must be met to determine a parent is unfit, visit www.curtcowanlaw.com today to learn more.