Different Types of Child Custody – What Is Right for Your Family

Different Types of Child Custody – What Is Right for Your Family

There are various types of child custody that are established in every state in the union. Not comprehending the difference between each one can often mislead you and maneuver you into agreeing to a custody settlement that you might potentially regret later on, or for years to come.

The major components of child custody revolve on “physical custody” and “legal custody.” The basic differences include:

  • Physical Custody – According to the legal system, physical custody makes reference to the actual location of where your child sleeps, eats and lives out their daily life.
  • Legal Custody – The court system refers to legal custody as the person that is in charge of making important decisions for the child including educational decisions, living arrangements, medical decisions, and the location of the child’s residence.

When both legal and physical custody are combined, the court system then determines the traditional types of child custody that could be ordered. The ultimate decision could be a court order based on sole custody, joint legal, joint physical, or a combination of child custody. The legal basis of each type of custody is unique. They include:

  • Sole Custody – Court ordered sole custody is sometimes called “full custody.” Sole custody provides both the physical and legal responsibility to one parent only, while allowing the other just visitation rights. In most cases, the parent that has sole custody will have 90% responsibility of their child. They will be responsible for all decisions made concerning his or her child, along with having the final say in regards to everything. The parent without sole custody will have visitation rights only, usually on weekends, or as scheduled by the court. They will have no say in making decisions on the upbringing of his or her child.
  • Joint Legal Custody – Just like it sounds, joint legal custody allows both parents an equal amount of responsibility in making decisions for the child, based on their needs including medical, educational and where the child will live. Whenever there are major disputes in the decision-making process, the judge has the final say. Traditionally, a court will likely take the side of the parent that has primary physical custody. This action by the court usually deems the practice of joint legal custody meaningless.
  • Joint Physical Custody – Courts can order joint physical custody by naming a single parent, or both parents, the primary custodian. However, primary custody usually follows the child to their main residence. Typically, the court will order a division of custody to 50-50, or allow the child to switch residences every few weeks.
  • Combinations of Child Custody – At times, the judge will issue a combination of child custody orders that include joint legal (but with sole physical), or joint physical (but with only sole legal).

When handling custody cases, it is imperative to use the legal services of a competent attorney in Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland. Sometimes, families can be misled when the court orders “temporary custody”. Without proper guidance, families can quickly realize that temporary custody almost always turns into a permanent solution.

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