Child Custody Law

Types of Child Custody

No one plans on having to go through child custody proceedings, but unfortunately it is something that many will have to deal with at some point. If you’re in this situation, it may be helpful to know the different types of child custody that is out there. Hopefully after reading this articles, you’ll have a better understanding of the types of child custody and what options are available.

Legal Child Custody

When you have legal child custody over someone, that means you’re able to, and expected to, make important decisions about how the child is raised. These decisions may include their religion, what kind of medical care they receive, and what school they will attend. Legal child custody, in some states, can be given jointly, whereas both parents will have a say in these decisions.

In the case where joint legal child custody is given, you have to include the other party in any decisions made. If you fail to do so, you can be taken to court to have the custody rules enforced. If you’re using an attorney, that just adds more to the bill. More importantly, it could affect the child.

Physical Child Custody

Physical child custody is pretty self explanatory. It simply means that whoever has custody will physically have the child with them. This kind of child custody can be given to solely to one parent or guardian, or given jointly. Joint physical custody is normally given when the parents or guardians reside in the same vicinity. Living far away when joint custody is in place can be stressful for the child. If however, the child lives primarily with one, that parent or guardian is likely to receive sole physical custody.

Joint Custody

If parents don’t live together and share either the legal or physical custody of a child, then they have joint custody. Joint custody can include sharing one or both of legal and physical custody. When parents are given joint custody, there is typically a set schedule put in place. This may include having the child spend certain seasons with one parent, or giving weekends to one and the week days to the other.

Sole Custody

Sole child custody means that the parent has sole physical or legal custody. Most of the time, the sole custody is based on the physical custody, because legal custody is usually shared. If a parent is deemed unfit by the courts to care for the child, then chances are that the other parent will receive sole physical custody.