Custody and Visitation
There are two types of custody in Mississippi- legal and physical. Legal custody is the cerebral form of custody. It entails the decision-making and thinking responsibilities in parenting. It involves your children’s health, education, extracurricular activities, religious training and every other decision that a parent makes. Physical custody simply entails with whom the child lives. When weighing custody cases, the best interest of the children is controlling, and the Judge is to consider the list of issues known as the Albright factors.
While our law specifically states there is no advantage given to the mother over the father in child custody situations, in reality the mother will usually have a slight advantage. The paramount consideration is the best interests of the child, and the Judge can award both parents with physical and legal custody or either parent with one or the other form of custody. An award of joint legal custody obligates the parties to exchange information concerning the health, education and welfare of the minor child, and to confer with one another in the exercise of decision-making rights, responsibilities and authority. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, access to records and information pertaining to a minor child, including, but not limited to, medical, dental and school records, shall not be denied to a parent because the parent is not the child's custodial parent.
There are as many different visitation schedules as there are people with children who get divorced. There is such a thing as standard visitation, but what the “standard” is depends on the county, the lawyers and the judges. We can write a visitation schedule almost anyway conceivable. Most custody situations entail one party having physical custody and the other party having visitation. A typical visitation schedule is every other weekend from 6:00 p.m. on Friday to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Some lawyers write in terms of first, third and fifth weekends, and mid-week visitation is often included. We like the every other weekend scenario better because we think it is easier. A good way to give the non-custodial parent more time with the children is to move the return time to the following Monday morning and/or pushing the commencement time back to Thursday. Some parents try “week on/week off” visitation schedules, but it takes a very special couple to make this work. Holidays are usually shared from even to odd years, and there is usually a provision for an extended time for visitation during the summer.
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