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How to arrange your child custody schedule: 2 primary options

When you're considering how to arrange your child's custody schedule, it's important to know the ways you can go about it. You can either work with the other parent to arrange a schedule you both agree on or allow a judge to make the determination for you.

In most cases, you'll have joint legal custody. This is when a mother and father share time with their children. You also both make decisions for the welfare of your children, so you need to talk to one another about medical issues, schooling concerns and more. If you're in a situation where your spouse is not fit to raise a child, then you can pursue sole custody.

When making the decision about who will receive custody, first realize that if you create the plan, you both can create an agreement you feel comfortable with. If you allow a judge to make the decision for you, you or your spouse may disagree with the arrangement without any real option to change it. It's best to plan out your parenting arrangement on your own if possible, so you can avoid any surprises in court.

If you are struggling to work together, mediation and arbitration can both be of assistance. Your attorneys can also negotiate for you, so you and your ex don't necessarily have to speak to one another when you're making this difficult decision.

When you reach an agreement outside court, your attorneys will draw up a contract. You sign this agreement and present it to the court. If the judge agrees with the arrangement, he or she will approve it, making it legally binding.

Source: FindLaw, "Custody Considerations: Step-By-Step," accessed Jan. 20, 2017

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