Exploring Child Custody Variations

Law Blog

It's easy to become confused when faced with the many different types of child custody arrangements. The parenting plan is an important part of your divorce agreement and the decisions made about child custody will affect your family in a major way. Read below and become familiar with some common (and uncommon) child custody arrangements. 

How to Choose?

It's better that you and your spouse choose a plan that is right for you and your children. However, if you cannot agree on a plan, the court will make a decision for you. If you can agree on a plan, however, and the plan is fair to the child, the court is very likely to order it done. 

Types of Child Custody

  • Physical custody: This refers to where the child lives most of the time. In some cases, visitation is provided for the other parent. 
  • Legal custody: This refers to the parent or parents who have legal responsibility for the child. That can mean each parent (or just one parent) gets to make decisions about education, discipline, religion, and other important issues. 
  • Sole custody: This type of custody focuses on a single parent. One parent has physical custody of the child, and the child resides with them the majority of the time. In some cases, the non-custodial parent may have visitation privileges. However, major decisions of importance are made by the sole custodial parent without a need to consult the other parent. 
  • Joint custody: The child spends approximately equal amounts of time with both parents. The parents share both physical and legal custody of the child. They are both responsible for making important decisions together. The time is divided based on the child's school schedule and the work obligations of the parents. 
  • Birds nest custody: This is a new way to deal with child custody issues. The child remains in the family home and the parents take turns living in the home and caring for the child. This type of custody is based on the parents having a second home to go to when they are not living with the child. While bird nesting does provide the child with stability, it can be chaotic and expensive for the parents. This plan may only be in place while the child is young and then a new custody plan is chosen.
  • Split custody: In the case of multiple children, split custody involves the sibling being separated for custody purposes. One parent takes care of one or more children, and another parent has custody of one or more other children. 

Discuss the above choice and speak to a child custody attorney to find out more. 


23 March 2023

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