When divorcing spouses have minor children, the Delaware courts consider two main issues - legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody determines which parent will make crucial decisions in a child's life, regarding his or her education, health insurance, religion, etc. Often, courts decide in favor of joint legal custody, arguing that both parents should have equal rights and obligations in the child's life, unless it violates a child's safety.
Physical custody identifies with which parent a child will reside. Usually, one parent will be chosen as the primary place of residence (the custodian), while the other parent has the right to spend time with the child, including celebrating holidays or going on vacation.
The court decides custody based on the best interests of the child, considering several relevant factors, including:
- the wishes of the child and parents;
- the relationship of the child with family members;
- the physical and mental health of parents and children;
- the desire of parents to cooperate when making decisions about the life of the child;
- any history of domestic violence.