The Different Child Custody Arrangements and What They Mean

Navigating the different child custody agreements at first, can be pretty tricky. There’s a lot that you’re learning as you go, and chances are, you might not understand all of the terms and options that are being thrown around. There are a lot of different agreements, based on your specific needs. So, we’re going to explain to you the options when it comes to what agreement you go with. From sole, to joint, to legal, and beyond— together we’re going to work it all out. That way, you can make an informed decision that is best for your entire family.

The Different Child Custody Arrangements and What They Mean
Legal Custody

Legal custody infers that one parent is the decision maker when it comes to the child. That includes educational, moral, health-based and so on. The parent with legal custody is the one that essentially handles everything from start to finish. This agreement is not typical of a parental situation where both are present and competent. Legal custody is typically granted when one of the parents are not fit to make the long-term decisions.

Sole Custody

Sole custody is similar to legal custody in that one parent is the decision maker, but when they have sole custody— the other parent has zero access unless granted by the other parent. This typically takes place when one parent is abusive, an addict— anything that puts the child at emotional or physical risk.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is one of the more common forms of child custody arrangements. It implies that the child resides with one primary parent, and they have visitation with the other parent. One parent will have the majority of time, and receive the child support payments— as they provide the home, and maintain the day-to-day. These types of agreements are usually the route that couples take, aside from joint custody. This allows the child to have one primary home, and a set place to do their extracurriculars and so forth.

Joint Custody

Joint custody is the second most common agreement, and it is exactly how it sounds. Both parents share joint responsibilities when it comes to decision making, extracurriculars, taking them to school. Ultimately, they share every aspect of the child’s life. This would likely be the most common option if it weren’t for how difficult co-parenting can be for ex-spouses.

No matter what kind of agreement you’re looking to reach, there are options to get you there. The first step is doing your research, and consulting with an attorney as to what your next step should be. Whether you settle this agreement in court, or outside— it is important that you understand what you’re agreeing to, and how it affects you in the long run. We wish you luck as you navigate this process and the different child custody agreements.