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  Untitled Document Getting a divorce can be a very difficult and emotional time for a family. If you are considering a divorce, or are in the process of a divorce, a qualified attorney can be helpful and a valuable asset through out the process.

If you have property (real estate, automobiles, vacation property, pensions, jewelry, etc.) or children, the divorce will be more complicated. It helps if you and your spouse agree about the issues involving the property and the children. The number of times you go to court and see a judge or referee depends on local court procedure and whether you and your spouse can agree on issues regarding your children, property and other matters. If you don't agree, things usually take much longer to get resolved. It is a good idea to get legal advice before finalizing an agreement with your spouse. You do not want to make costly mistakes.

Joint Legal Custody, Physical Custody Are Considerations for Those Getting Divorced
What should we do about the children? What will happen to the children? Who will get the children? These are questions that always come up in divorce. What are the answers?

Under the law, the court considers two issues -- legal custody and physical custody. The court must base its decision on what is in the best interest of the children. What each parent wants will be considered by the court. However, parental preferences will not control the court's decision. There are different types of custody that will be addressed in a divorce:

Joint legal custody:
This means that both parents share the responsibility to make decisions regarding the child's health, education and welfare.

Sole legal custody:
This means that one parent has primary control over decisions regarding the child's health, education and welfare.

Physical custody:
This measures the amount of time that the children spend with each parent.

Joint physical custody:
This means each parent has "significant periods" of physical custody. Physical custody must be shared in such a way as to assure the child "frequent and continuing contact with both parents."

Primary physical custody:
This means that the children will spend most of their time under the care of one parent, while enjoying visitation with the other parent.

Joint legal custody with one parent having primary physical custody:
In this case, the parents share decision-making responsibility, but the child resides with only one of the parents.

When issuing child custody and visitation orders, courts consider two things:
1. The court's primary concern is to assure the children's health, safety and welfare.
2. The custody/visitation award must assure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have ended their relationship and encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing.

Where there is no threat of child endangerment, the two issues are considered equally. If there is evidence of domestic violence that could jeopardize the child's safety, a custody or visitation order "shall be made in a manner" that ensures the child's health, safety and welfare and the safety of all family members.

The law firm of Johnson & Placke can help you understand your rights and issues when dealing with a divorce.

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