Dealing with Divorce

Custody and Child Support

Working out custody arrangements can be one of the most difficult elements of a divorce. However, there is a large variety of custody arrangements you can agree upon. There are two legal types of custody, according to the AAP:

  • Physical custody defines where the child lives. This can be split between both parents.
  • Legal custody refers to a parent's right to share in key decisions such as a child's schooling, medical treatment, and religion. Even if physical custody remains with one parent, the other parent can share legal custody.

Mothers are more likely to maintain physical custody of a child, but more and more fathers are now taking on this role. Regardless of which parent has custody, both should play an active role in the child's daily life by helping with homework, attending school meetings, and providing emotional and financial support. Neither parent should be prevented from taking part in raising the child.

Both parents have a financial obligation to their child, but millions of female-headed households aren't currently receiving child support, according to the AAP. Contact your state's child support enforcement agency for guidelines on your local laws about child support. If your child's other parent will not cooperate, your state or local government may take action to force payment.

If you're having custody or child support disagreements, consider calling a mediator or attorney to help settle the problem.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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