Understanding the Main Types of Custody

Some of the most complicated and emotional cases heard by the family court are those regarding child custody Few things are more precious than your relationship with your children, and our caring attorneys at Claery & Hammond, LLPcan advocate on your behalf before the judge.

When you are involved in custody proceedings with your ex-spouse or former partner, it is important that you understand the different types of custody that could be involved in your case.

Legal Custody

The parent awarded legal custody has the right and responsibility to make all decisions for the child's life. This type of custody gives the parent the right to make such decisions as schooling, religious upbringing, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities, and many other aspects of the child's life.

Physical Custody

The parent awarded physical custody has the right to have the child live at their residence. While the other parent may be awarded visitation, the child will reside at the custodial parent's home. In some cases the court will award joint physical custody, which means the child's time will be split between both parents' residences.

Sole Custody

If the family court decides sole custody is in the child's best interests, the parent awarded custody will have the right to make all decisions and have the child live at their residence. The noncustodial parent then may or may not be awarded visitation rights, depending on the judge's discretion. In many cases, the court seeks to have the parents share custody, but will not hesitate to award sole custody if one parent is deemed unfit to properly care for the child.

Joint Custody

Parents have joint custody when they amicably agree to share the responsibilities of raising their child or the court orders them to do so. The court may order the parents to share legal responsibility while only awarding physical responsibility to one parent, or vice versa. The court could also decide that the parents should share both physical and legal custody of their child. If they cannot agree on a decision about on the child's schedule and housing arrangement, the court will determine a custody agreement that is in the best interests of the child. This type of custody is preferable, as it ensures the child has continual contact and involvement with both of their parents and allows the parents to share the burdens and responsibility of raising the child.

Need Experienced Legal Advocacy?

If the court is involved in your custody arrangement, contact our firm for knowledgeable legal counsel and exceptional representation of your rights and interests. Our skilled attorneys would be proud to help you protect your relationship with your precious child.