How to Divorce & Give Up Custody

By Teo Spengler

Life is full of hard choices, especially during a divorce in which property issues frequently prove less emotional than questions about child custody. If you decide that it is in your children's best interests to live with their other parent, you can waive custody in a divorce settlement agreement or in court filings.

Types of Custody

Before you begin to talk about giving up custody, it is important to understand the two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to which parent the children live with. One parent can have sole physical custody or the parents can share custody, and move the children between two houses. Legal custody refers to the authority to make important decisions for the children such as which schools they attend. One parent or both parents can have legal custody.

Waiving Physical Custody

When a parent talks about waiving custody, he usually means physical custody. Circumstances may prevent a parent from having or sharing physical custody, such as when one parent is in the military and deployed in a war zone. If you decide that you cannot have your children living with you, you can waive physical custody, as part of a divorce agreement with your spouse. Alternatively, you can complete your dissolution forms to indicate that you do not seek custody nor oppose your spouse's request for sole physical custody. Expect the court to order you to pay child support, however, to assist your spouse in financing the children's needs.

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Visitation Rights

Divorce is a parting of the ways between spouses. Unfortunately, it also often represents a rupture of the relationship between the children and the parent who does not have custody. However, a noncustodial parent can maintain regular contact with his kids through visitation or parenting time. If you are waiving physical custody in a settlement agreement, negotiate a visitation schedule with your spouse and make it part of your parenting plan. If you waive custody in your court filing, be sure to ask the court for reasonable visitation. If your spouse opposes the visitation you are seeking, divorce mediation can be helpful.

Legal Custody

You are not obliged to waive legal custody just because it is impractical for the children to live with you. Requesting joint legal custody means that you will have a say in every important decision made for your kids, including choices about their education and medical treatment. If, for some reason you also decide to waive legal custody, you can do so in a settlement agreement or in a court filing.

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How to Get Child Custody If a Parent Refuses to Sign the Papers

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Filing a Divorce in Kentucky

When you file for divorce in Kentucky, you must decide whether to hire an attorney or complete the divorce documents on your own. Consider whether you have the ability to reach a settlement with your spouse and if you can complete the divorce paperwork without professional help. If you need help with the documents, legal document service providers offer personal assistance to complete the appropriate forms.

Wyoming Child Custody Law

Wyoming understands that divorces run smoothest when spouses are amicable and able to work together, especially when it comes to children of the marriage. For that reason, Wyoming permits divorcing spouses to create a parenting plan on their own, choosing a custody arrangement that works best for their family and its unique dynamic. If the court finds the plan meets the child's best interests, the court will approve it and incorporate it into the divorce decree.

How to Apply for Sole Custody in Baltimore, Maryland

In some cases, sole legal custody or sole physical custody is in the best interests of a child. For a parent wishing to establish or modify custody in Baltimore, Maryland, the first step involves communicating to the court the specific reasons for the proposed arrangement. The other parent must then be made aware of the proceedings, and the parties can attempt to reach an agreement. If no agreement is reached, the court will make a determination based on what the judge believes is in the child's best interest.

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