Different Types of Custody Arrangements

There are several types of custody arrangements possible when parents divorce. We often think of custody as either 50/50 or one parent getting full custody. However, there are actually more options than just those two. Joint custody means that both parents have equal rights to make decisions for their children. Kids usually split their time between their parents’ houses. Sole custody means that one parent is the main caregiver. Non-parental custody is uncommon but happens if the court believes a third party is more able to care for the children than the parents. And finally, the least common is split custody. In this, siblings are split up between their parents. There are many options for custody and each case depends on the parents and children involved.

Different Types of Custody Arrangements: Common and Uncommon

Joint Custody

Joint custody is one of the most common custody arrangements. It can look different for different families. However, it means that both parents equally are responsible for their kids. Often this means that children split their time between parents and switch back and forth between their houses. The parents must make any legal decisions about the children together.

Full/Sole Custody

Full or sole custody is another custody arrangement that is somewhat common. With sole custody, one of the parents is legally responsible for making decisions for the kids. In addition, the children live with them full time. Often the other parent has visitation rights. This is more likely to happen if one parent is unfit or not capable of child-rearing.

Non-Parental Custody

One of the custody arrangements that are less common is non-parental custody or third-party custody. This happens when both parents are unfit or not able to legally care for their children. It often means that kids live with their grandparents, step-parents, or other family members.

Split Custody

Finally, split custody is a rare custody arrangement to be awarded. Many people mistakenly use the term when they actually mean shared or joint custody. But it actually means something very different. In split custody, siblings each live with a separate parent. The court doesn’t usually decide on split custody, because most people believe that siblings should stay together. However, in rare cases, this type of custody might happen. It is more common if the children go to different schools, and have a large age gap, special needs, or disciplinary issues.

While there are many different types of custody arrangements, the most common one in our country is joint custody. Most courts feel that it’s important for children to have both of their parents in their lives making decisions for them together. However, in some situations, one parent might have sole custody. It’s less common, but sometimes children go to live with non-parental guardians in a third-party arrangement. And finally, the least common is split custody, where siblings are split up between parents. Divorce is difficult for everybody, including kids. It’s important that the arrangement be whatever is best for the well-being of the children. If you are going through a divorce, hopefully, you will find the arrangements that work the best for you and your family.