Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller Reach a Child Custody Agreement

TMZ reported on Wednesday that Two and a Half Men star, Charlie Sheen, and his ex-wife Brooke Mueller have reached a child custody agreement for their two twin sons. A Los Angeles judge, their lawyers and the couple met to review and finalize a joint legal and physical custody agreement. Like many Hollywood couples, Sheen and Mueller have not filed the agreement in court and have agreed to keep the details confidential.

Like so many divorced couples, Sheen and Mueller have been haggling over custody of their children, Bob and Max, since their relationships imploded in Aspen, Colorado, in 2009. In February of this year police were called to the Sheen home to remove the boys from Sheen’s care, and the divorce was finalized in May 2011.

The tabloids reported that Mueller claimed to have been verbally and physically abuse by Sheen. Mueller confirmed she had previously struggled with substance abuse and agreed to enter rehab in April. Although few details of the custody agreement have been released to the public, it is confirmed that the custody arrangement requires on-going mandatory drug testing for both parents.

Whether you are a movie star or not, if you are considering divorce and you have children, one of your primary concerns will be their welfare. There are several different types of child custody arrangements available, and it is important to understand the benefits offered by each and which would work best for your family.

Divorcing couples can generally choose between four types of child custody arrangements including: Joint custody (joint child custody, joint legal custody and joint physical custody), sole or full custody, split custody, or non-parental or third party custody. Divorce law varies by state, so it is important to contact a divorce lawyer prior to filing for divorce and determine what types of child custody arrangements are allowed in your state.

Child custody arrangements are one of the most important divorce issues, and they can establish access to your child for each parent. If both parents can agree on a child custody arrangement a divorce judge may be willing to accept the arrangement if it is determined to be in the best interest of the child.

Types of Child Custody Arrangements


Joint Custody

Joint custody arrangements can take many forms (joint child custody, joint legal custody and joint physical custody) but is generally the preferred custody arrangement. Joint custody allows for both parents to either have joint physical custody of the child or at least be involved in many legal aspects of the child’s life. Joint custody has become the preferred child custody arrangement in most states.

Sole or Full Custody

Sole or full child custody arrangements have historically been the preferred child custody arrangement (until the last 20 years). This type of arrangement allows one parent to be designated as the custodian, and they have the responsibility to care for the child and make legal decisions for the child. The non-custodial parent is awarded visitation rights.

Up until the last 15 to 20 years, it was not unusual for the mother to be awarded sole custody and have full decision making responsibilities for the child. In the last decade, however, the courts have recognized the importance of a father’s role in the family and have given them more custody rights.

Non-parental or Third Party Custody

What if neither parent is available to parent? The courts have the legal option to award custody to a third party. In many states grandparents, aunts, uncles, or step parents can be awarded legal custody if the parent is proven unfit or the third party can prove that it is in the best interest of the child for them not to live with their parents.

Split Custody

Split custody arrangements allow the court to divide multiple children between the parents. This type of arrangement is the least common child custody arrangement because the courts are reluctant to divide siblings.

Exceptions may be made for certain families after the court evaluates the sibling’s relationship, their ages, the parent’s preferences, or a child’s special needs.

Hiring a Divorce Attorney

Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller needed a divorce lawyer and you will too. Divorce is a difficult process and given the complexity of divorce law and the emotional state of each parent, it may help to have a third party review the issues and help you determine what child custody arrangement will work best for your family.