Are you trying to learn more about the common types of child custody? If yes, you should check out our guide here on everything to know.

Every year in the United States, over half a million married couples will divorce. No surprises here, really. Since researchers started collecting data on U.S. divorce rates, almost everyone knows that after marriage, the possibility of divorce is literally a toss of the coin. Divorce isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, all good things certainly do come to an end, as do bad ones! However, if the divorcing couple has children, things can be complicated. Divorce will make the beginning of a child custody battle, in most cases.

Here’s a guide to the various types of child custody, so that you know what to expect.

Physical Custody

Unless under certain circumstances, such as the divorcing parents being mentally unstable, children will have to continue staying with one of the parents. Although custody laws vary from state to state, the parent who typically provides day-to-day care to the kids will get physical custody. This type of custody means the physical custodian (custodial parent) lives with the kids. The other parents (noncustodial parents) will get visitation rights. The family court will spell out the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights. However, if you’re this parent, you can expect to spend exclusive time with your kids over the weekends, during public holidays, and a couple of weeks over the summer.

Legal Custody

As a parent, you have the legal right to make important decisions about your kids, especially with regard to their education and healthcare. Divorce doesn’t necessarily take away these rights. Even if you’re not the custodial parent, you still have legal custody. If you and your ex-spouse divorced amicably, sorting out physical and legal custody shouldn’t be difficult. The custodial parent will seek your input on various issues affecting your kids.

However, if your divorce is anything but amicable, enjoying legal custody can be difficult. For instance, your ex-spouse could ignore you when it comes to important decisions. They could transfer the kids to other schools without your consent. If you’re in this situation and your efforts to reason with your ex-spouse have hit a dead end, hire a child custody lawyer and go back to court. The court will typically issue summons and ensure the ex-spouse is well aware of your legal custody rights.

Sole Custody

Sometimes one parent will have either sole physical custody or sole legal custody. Other times one parent can have both sole physical and legal custody. This is rare, but if you can prove that your ex-spouse is unfit, perhaps they are battling drug addiction, you could easily secure sole custody. The same applies if the court establishes that you’re unfit to have any form of child custody.

Joint Custody

Joint custody is the ideal child custody scenario. Each parent gets equal everything: equal joint custody and equal physical custody. Joint custody is often the result of an agreement between the divorcing couple. They’re generally in good terms and agree that having joint custody is the best thing they can do for their kids, given the circumstances.

In a perfect world, divorce wouldn’t exist and children would get to live happily with their parents. However, this word is far from perfect. Divorce happens every day and parents with kids are forced into some form of child custody agreement. With this guide on the types of child custody, you now know what potentially awaits you. All the best and keep reading our blog for relationship and marriage tips.

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Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


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