Child custody is a difficult topic for many parents to approach. No one wants to give up time with their child, let alone certain rights to parent their child as they deem appropriate.
It’s no wonder why so many who have to endure a child custody dispute are stressed throughout this sensitive process. Adding to the frustration, sometimes, is a lack of clarity about what child custody is really about, the different types of child custody there are, and how these types can overlap.
What Is Child Custody For?
Child custody is a court order that determines how much time and access each parent has to their child when parents aren’t living together. Child custody is often ordered in situations where parents, or the judge, aren’t confident in their ability to amicably resolve differences regarding time and access without the court’s future intervention.
There are four types of custody every parent should understand:
- Sole Custody
- Joint Custody
- Physical Custody
- Legal Custody
As we explain these types of custody, keep in mind that custody arrangements can be combined in a few different ways. For example, a parent may have sole physical and legal custody; parents may jointly share legal and physical custody; or one parent may have sole physical custody while both parents share joint legal custody.
Sole & Joint Custody
Sole and joint custody refer to the extent of legal and physical custody either parent may have over their child.
In a sole custody arrangement, the parent awarded custody has the complete authority to parent their child as they see fit. Joint custody, on the other hand, gives both parents rights and access to their children, requiring them to work out any differences according to their parenting plan.
Physical & Legal Custody
Physical and legal custody determine with whom a child lives and what kinds of decisions a parent can make for them.
Physical custody refers to where a child lives most of the time. If a parent is awarded sole physical custody, the child lives with them 100% of the time, although the non-custodial parent can be awarded visitation that may include overnight arrangements. If parents share joint physical custody, then their child lives between them, according to a predetermined time-sharing agreement.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions for their child, such as those relevant to schooling, medical care, religious upbringing, etc. Parents can share joint legal custody and make these decisions together, but if a parent is awarded sole legal custody, the other parent has no authority to make any such decision.
Do You Need Legal Representation?
A lot can be at risk during a child custody dispute. If you need to fight to have as much time and access to your child as possible, our attorney at Beatriz Zyne, P.A. can help. With aggressive legal representation and compassionate legal support, rest assured that we can provide the guidance and services you need to optimize the potential outcomes.
For more information, contact us online today!