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Child custody types and what is right for you and your child

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | Child Custody |

Child custody can look vastly different from one case to the next. This could be due to specific factors, the wants of each parent and the needs of the child. Whether it is through negotiation, mediation or litigation, it is important to establish a child custody order that is right for you and in the best interest of the child.

Child custody types

When it comes to child custody, there are two types of custody that need to be established when establishing a child custody order. This includes physical custody and legal custody.

In simple terms, physical custody refers to who the child spend time with and how much time, if at all, each parent spends with the child. Legal custody refers to the legal authority to make important decision on behalf of the child. This often includes where the child goes to school, the religion they practice and the medical treatment they receive.

Child custody arrangements

There are three distinct child custody arrangements. The first is joint custody, which is where both parents share legal custody of the child with the child splitting time between both households equally. This could be an exact 50-50 time split or something close to it.

The next is primary custody with the other parent having visitation rights. In this arrangement, one parent is awarded primary placement, meaning that the child will live with that parent full time with the other parent afforded visitation on a specific schedule. This often looks like the other parent exercising visitation every other weekend or during school breaks and holidays. Often, the custodial parent will have sole legal custody; however, it could remain joint in this arrangement.

The final arrangement is sole custody. This means that one parent is awarded sole physical and legal custody of the child while the other parent having limited or no access to the child. In extreme cases where abuse or neglect is involved, the court may terminate the parental rights of the noncustodial parent.

Family law matters can be taxing and emotional for parents. Although reaching the finish line provides some relief, the reality is that some parents are not happy with the final order. Thus, it is important that one also considers their rights when it comes to seeking modification. A legal professional can answer any questions you might have when it comes to establishing or modifying a child custody order.


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