When children are involved in a divorce, many parents feel that the most important determination to be made is the custody arrangement. Any decision made regarding child custody must focus on the best interests of the children involved and provide them with the most peace and stability possible.
A court recently determined the custody arrangement for the children of former NFL player Deion Sanders and his wife pursuant to their divorce proceedings. The court awarded Deion Sanders with full custody of their two sons and joint custody of their daughter. His wife was shocked by the arrangement plans to appeal the court's decision. Deion Sanders will have the right to determine where the children will live. He will also make decisions regarding the health and education of the boys and will share the decision-making for their daughter.
When a couple divorces, a custody arrangement regarding their children can be reached voluntarily or through a court order. The typical arrangement is to award one parent with physical custody, meaning that the child will live primarily with them and they are considered the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent will retain visitation rights and legal custody, which entitles them to share in decision-making regarding the child's religion, health care and education, along with the custodial parent. Another arrangement that may be ordered is joint custody, in which the child spends nearly equal time with both parents. Such an arrangement typically involves a high level of cooperation between the parents and can be difficult in contentious divorces. The court in the case above ordered both of these arrangements in regards to the couple's children and the rights and responsibilities of the parents will be different as it concerns their sons and their daughter. The custody determination is based on the best interests of the child and invokes many factors, which may vary from state to state.
The custody award must provide the most benefit to the child possible and allow them to have a stable home environment. Regardless of the custody situation that is ordered, parents must be aware of their rights and responsibilities.
Source: New York Post, "Deion Sanders' estranged ex 'flabbergasted' over losing child custody," Mar. 13, 2013