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Child custody comes in many forms

While child custody is a common factor in many divorces, some of the details involved in child custody can get lost in translation. Many people actually don’t know some of the types of child custody that are at stake in their case (or in general), so today, let’s take a look at some of these forms of custody.

First of all, there are two basic types of custody that divorced or divorcing parents need to know about: legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the ability of a parent to make decisions about their child’s life. For example, a parent with legal custody can make decisions about his or her child’s education and health. Physical custody refers to a parent’s ability to have the child live with him or her.

Now, there are two “modifiers,” so to speak, of these forms of custody. You can have either “sole” custody or “joint” custody. Sole custody means that only one parent has the ability to make decisions about the child’s upbringing and/or place of residence. Sole custody is much more uncommon than joint custody though because it usually requires one spouse to prove that the other spouse is unfit to be a parent.

Joint custody, as you can likely guess, means that the parents share in the decision-making process for their child, and they share time with their child by allowing him or her to live or visit each parent. Each form of custody has its positives and negatives, so please consult with an attorney if you are about to enter custody discussions in your divorce.

Source: FindLaw, “The Various Types of Child Custody,” Accessed Dec. 7, 2015

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