What are the Different Types of Child Custody?

There are several different types and variations of child custody, and when going through a divorce or separation, it is important to request the type of custody that works best for you and your family.

Sole Legal Custody

A parent with sole legal custody of their child has the right to make all decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. When a parent has sole legal custody, they can make decisions regarding education, medical care, and religious education without the other parent. The other parent does not necessarily have a say in these decisions, nor do they have to give permission for these decisions to be made. A parent is typically granted sole legal custody when the other parent is deemed unfit due to issues such as substance abuse and mental illness. Sole legal custody may also be granted if one parent is so uncooperative that it constantly obstructs decision making for the child.

Joint Legal Custody

Parents with joint legal custody of their child both have the right to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. When parents have joint legal custody, they both have input on decisions regarding education, medical care, and religious education and must consult with each other.

Primary Physical Custody

When a parent has primary physical custody, their child lives with them, and the other parent has visitation rights. Primary physical custody gives the parent the right to have their child live with them full time, but the other parent will have a right to parenting time and scheduled visits with the child.

Sole Physical Custody

A parent has the ability to have sole physical custody if the other parent is found to be unfit. However, sole physical custody is typically only awarded in extreme circumstances. Courts might also give sole physical custody to one parent and give joint legal custody to both parents. This means that both parents would have a say in how the child is raised, even if they are raised in only one parent’s home.

Joint Physical Custody

Joint custody means that both parents have equal time with the child. This is also commonly called “50/50 custody.” Courts are trending toward awarding 50/50 custody and more and more parents are requesting that their lawyers negotiate for it.

The Best Custody Arrangement

The “best” custody arrangement is the agreement that works best for your family. Child custody is not a one size fits all arrangement but needs to be individualized. Ultimately, the type of custody should benefit the child and address their particular needs. For more information concerning the types of child custody, contact the Moskowitz Law Group.

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