Types of Child Custody

When it comes to child custody, there are two basic options: joint custody and sole custody. One parent is granted full custody of the child in a sole custody setup, and the other parent has visitation rights. Joint custody is when both parents share custody. In joint custody situations, both parents share parenting responsibilities, and they also share the child’s legal and physical custody. Some states also have joint physical custody, which is when a child spends equal time with each parent.

The court system considers many factors when determining child custody and visitation arrangements, such as the child’s age, maturity, health, and relationship with each parent. Parents with disputes about custody and visitation arrangements can go to court to litigate the issue or work with their attorneys to come to an agreement. Alternatively, they can do it with the help of a family mediator like We Mediate which can create a safe environment for both parents as well as the child(ren) to voice out their concerns regarding custody.

Legal custody

Legal custody, also called “guardianship,” might be one of the most important types of child custody concerns in divorce. Legal custody is the right and responsibility to make decisions for a child, such as where the child will live and who they will speak to. While parents may disagree on almost everything, agreeing on who will have legal custody is often one of the easier parts of a divorce.

Physical custody

When parents are no longer together, either by divorce or separation, one parent can petition the court to have full custody of a child or joint custody. Both parents maintain a certain degree of parental rights. Physical custody is the legal term used to describe one parent having the physical care of a child. The terms legal custody, physical custody, and visitation are used interchangeably when describing parents’ legal rights to their children.

Sole custody

A legal parent who is awarded sole custody will be granted the right to make legal decisions for a child. Sole custody is not automatically granted when a divorce occurs. The courts will first issue a legal parent with joint custody and then sole custody if joint custody is not in the child’s best interest. Sole custody is awarded only under limited circumstances and cases where abuse or neglect is likely to occur.

Joint custody

Joint custody or joint legal custody means that children live with each parent for equal amounts of time. The parents share decision-making responsibilities, and the child(ren) has joint physical custody, meaning that each parent has physical custody over the child(ren). This type of child custody arrangement works best when parents can communicate openly, remain friendly, and work together for the best interests of their shared children.

Grandparent visitation and custody

Grandparents have legal rights to visitation and custody. They can play an active role in raising their grandchildren through visitation rights. In many states, grandparents have visitation rights through a grandparent visitation order. These court orders allow grandparents to visit their grandchildren. Grandparents must give the court specific reasons why they are fit to raise the child. The grandparent must support the child financially and emotionally. If the court decides that the grandparent is an unfit person to raise the child, then the grandparent must persuade the court that they would be a good caretaker through evidence.

Child custody is a hot topic these days. Divorces happen and having a child’s best interests at the forefront of a child custody case is very important. Parents will try to prove to the Court that they know what is best for their children and persuade accordingly. Knowing the types of child custody is important when it comes to making a case for custody.