The Different Types of Child Custody

Custody Lawyers

Child custody can be an incredibly difficult issue for both parents and children involved. It’s important to understand the different types of child custody available, so that you can make the best decision for your family. According to some family attorneys with our friends at The McKinney Law Group, there are four main types of custody. Whether you’re a divorcing parent or considering adoption, having a good understanding of the different types of child custody is essential.

Sole Custody

Sole custody is when only one parent has legal and physical custody of a child. This means that the parent with sole custody has the right to make all decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of the child. The other parent may be awarded visitation rights, but may not have any legal decision-making authority. Sole custody is usually granted when the other parent is deemed unfit to care for the child. For example, if the other parent has a history of abuse or neglect, or if they are deemed to be an unfit parent due to drug or alcohol abuse. It is also granted in cases where there is a dispute between the parents regarding what is best for the child.

Shared Custody

Shared custody is an arrangement where both parents have legal and physical custody of the child. The child usually lives with one parent for a predetermined amount of time and then switches to the other parent’s house. This arrangement provides both parents with equal rights and responsibilities regarding the child’s welfare, while also allowing the child to be involved in both parents’ lives. In some shared custody arrangements, both parents will share decision-making responsibilities, while others may designate one parent as the primary decision maker. In either case, both parents are expected to work together in the best interest of their child. The primary benefit of shared custody is that it provides stability and balance for the child, allowing them to spend quality time with both parents. This also allows each parent to remain equally involved in their child’s life, providing a healthy and nurturing environment for their development. Additionally, shared custody helps keep family relationships intact, since both parents have a vested interest in the child’s well-being.

Joint Custody

Joint custody is when both parents have legal and physical custody of their child or children. This means that both parents share decision-making responsibility and can be present in the child’s life. In a joint custody arrangement, parents usually make decisions together, whether it is regarding education, health care, or extracurricular activities.  This type of custody arrangement is often beneficial for the child or children involved, as it gives them the opportunity to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents. It also ensures that both parents are able to equally share in the responsibilities associated with raising a child.

Split Custody

Split custody is a type of child custody that is rarely used. It’s not recommended by most family attorneys because it requires the child to divide their time between two households and two different sets of rules. In split custody, one parent may have primary physical custody of one child, while the other parent has primary physical custody of another child. This can make it hard for children to maintain a stable routine and connection with both parents, and can be damaging to their development. Split custody is only used in cases of severe parental conflict or if one parent is physically or emotionally unable to care for the child.

If you have questions about custody agreements, contact a family attorney near you.

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