What Are the Different Types of Child Custody That Exists Today?

Did you know there are different types of child custody? Each type has its respective terms and conditions that will determine the relationship you’ll have with your child moving forward. 

If you find yourself in the courtroom battling for custody of your child, it’s critical to have wide-ranging and detailed knowledge to understand your goals and the potential outcomes. It’s also important to do additional research as child custody laws vary from state to state.  For instance, grandparents rights in AZ may differ from the rights of grandparents in WA or NY, and have the potential to add another layer of complexity to already difficult custody proceedings.

Today, we will discuss the two primary forms of child custody – sole custody and joint custody. However, there are several subclassifications of each of these types of child custody that we’ll also touch on.

Keep reading to familiarize yourself with these legal terms so you’ll feel confident walking into the courthouse. Please keep in mind that it is important to contact a child custody attorney before taking any action.

Sole Custody

Sole custody, often referred to as full custody, gives one parent primary custody of the child. A custody investigation is usually involved with sole custody cases. If you’d like to learn about custody investigations, this article contains more info.

The terms and conditions of sole custody can vary based upon whether a parent has sole physical custody or sole legal custody.

Sole Physical Custody 

Under sole physical custody, the child will reside with one parent. Although, if it’s in the child’s best interest, the parent lacking custody will be granted visitations. Depending on the circumstances of the case, visitations may only happen under supervision. 

Sole Legal Custody

On the other hand, a parent with sole legal custody has complete control over all major decisions regarding the child. This can include things such as:

  • Education
  • Moral development 
  • Religion
  • Medical decisions

Visitations from the other parent may still be granted under sole legal custody. The benefit of sole legal custody is it reduces conflict between the parents regarding decision-making.

Joint Custody

Joint custody, commonly referred to as shared custody, allows both parents to make decisions for their child. They may also be granted physical control and custody of their child. 

Joint custody is a popular outcome among separated parents, divorced parents, or parents that no longer live together. Similar to sole custody, joint custody can be distinguished by joint legal and physical custody. 

Joint Legal Custody

A parent with joint legal custody will be the child’s primary residence. Often this parent is referred to as the custodial parent. 

Being the custodial parent means having more say in everyday decisions. The non-custodial parent will still have some involvement in decision-making, but only significant decisions such as education, morals, health, and general welfare. 

Joint Physical Custody

Parents may also be granted joint physical custody. This means the decision-making and physical control of the child will be equally split between both parents.

This usually results in the child swapping households every week. In addition, parents will have an equal say in decision-making.

Types of Child Custody 

There are many different types of child custody you should be familiar with. The most prominent types of child custody include sole custody and joint custody. 

However, sole and joint custody can be further classified into legal and physical custody. Laws, terms, and conditions will vary by state and case-by-case basis – so it’s essential to do your research!

We hope you found value in these tips. If you’re looking for more vital information, be sure to check out our other legal articles to expand your knowledge of the law!