When a couple gets divorced and there are children involved, the subject of child custody comes up. The final divorce decree will address child custody, regardless of whether it was determined through litigation, mediation, or an agreement between the spouses. Due to the fact that child custody decisions impact very member of the family, it is necessary for divorcing couples who have children seek legal counsel.
There are four major types of child custody:
In this type of custody, the parent has the right to make any and all decisions regarding the needs and upbringing of the child. These include determinations regarding the education, religion, healthcare, schedule, and discipline of the child- while consulting the non-custodial parent. In most states, joint legal custody is granted so that both parents can keep their legal rights to make decisions regarding their children. This type of custody has to do with the legal responsibilities for the child- not the amount of time spent with them.
In this type of custody, the child lives with one parent and has visitation with the other. In some states, joint physical custody is awarded, in which case the child spends the same amount of time with each parent. This type of custody involved where the child spends his/her time, as opposed to which one makes the decisions for the child.
This type of custody can be either sole physical, or sole legal custody, or in some cases, both. In recent years, sole custody is becoming less common. One of the most common reasons for sole custody to be awarded is when one parent is proven to be unfit by the other. More often, family courts encourage significant involvement of the noncustodial parent in the life of the child. Even in cases where sole physical custody is awarded, the noncustodial parent is still permitted to visit with the child. Also, the noncustodial parent is still able to take part in decisions regarding the child on legal matters and the needs of the child.
When it comes to this type of custody, both parents have equal rights and responsibilities. This can be joint physical, joint legal, or both. This is the most common type of custody awarded, especially when both parents wish to maintain a close and active relationship with their children and no issues of parental fitness are present.