5 Types Of Child Custody Arrangements

If you are divorcing with children, your prime concern may involve your custody rights. There are several types of custody arrangements that may be approved by the court. The types of custody available can differ depending on where you live, but the following are the most common options that are available. 

1. Physical Custody

For many parents, physical custody is the most important concern. This type of custody determines which home provides the main address for a child. Most often one parent is granted primary physical custody in order to provide some stability in the child's life, then the other one is granted secondary custody, partial custody, or visitation rights depending on the final decision in court. 

2. Legal Custody

Often legal custody is granted to whichever household receives primary physical custody, but not always. Sometimes, legal custody is shared evenly between both parents or the different individuals suing for custody rights. When legal custody is shared, all parties must agree on important decisions in a child's life, such as schooling and medical care. There are typically emergency exceptions in the event one custodial individual can't be reached in a life-threatening emergency.

3. Sole Custody

When sole custody is granted, only one parent or guardian is given both physical and legal custody. They are responsible for all care and decisions that pertain to the child. Further, they do not need to clear any of these care decisions with the other parent. Visitation may be granted to the other parent, but they do not otherwise have any legal custodial influence.

4. Joint Custody

For most families, joint custody is granted. Joint does not necessarily mean it's a 50-50 arrangement. For school-age children, joint custody often gives one parent primary custody on weekdays and possibly for part of any school vacations. The other parent may be granted weekends and some school vacations. Other joint examples include every-other-week arrangements or holiday and summer vacation-only arrangements. 

5. Visitation Only

There are instances where a parent or other interested party is not granted any legal custody, but only visitation rights. These can be free and open visitations or there may be a requirement for a court-approved chaperone at each visitation. Visitation-only custody arrangements are often when there are concerns about a child's well-being when in the care of certain individuals, so there may be other court-required stipulations in order to arrange visitation depending on the specific situation. 

Contact a law firm, such as Glasz Law, if you have children and pursuing a divorce or new custody arrangements.