What Are the Types of Child Custody When Divorcing?

What Are the Types of Child Custody When Divorcing?

Among the most pressing considerations for anyone going through a divorce is the subsequent fate of any children involved. Who is going to be living with whom? And what will the visitation rights look like?

These are emotionally charged questions whose answers will vary from case to case.

If you’re in this situation and worried about the implications of your divorce for your children, then it might be a good idea to look at how child custody works. You can give yourself the best chance of a successful outcome by recruiting some expert family law solicitors. But it’s still a topic worth exploring yourself – that way, you’ll be able to understand any decisions made.

So, what types of custody are there to consider?

Physical Custody

This refers to where the child actually lives from day to day. It can be either sole or joint. The former refers to when the child lives with just one of the two parents (called the ‘custodial’ parent). The other parent may be granted visitation rights.

Joint custody is when both parents share living time with the child. Also called ‘shared residency’, it’s quite rare in practice, since it requires both parents to be on fairly amicable terms with one another.

Since the courts are bound to arrive at a solution which favours the well-being of the child, they will usually award custody to one parent (usually but not always the mother).

Legal Custody

This term refers not to where the child lives, but how they live. It relates to where they go to school, what medical care they receive, and the role that religion plays in their upbringing. Keeping these ideas separate from the physical location of the child will allow both parents to have a say in the upbringing of the child. If you belong to one religion, for example, then you’ll be able to prevent your child from being raised according to the precepts of another.

Full Custody

If a parent has both the legal and physical custody of a child, then they’re said to have ‘full custody’. This tends to be awarded if one parent is deemed unfit to raise a child. They might be a convicted criminal, or have a history of abuse or neglect. On the other hand, they might be severely ill, and therefore lacking the ability to raise the child.

When agreeing the terms of your divorce, it’s often easiest (and cheapest) to work out a schedule between you. If you can decide on housing arrangements and visitation rights, then you’ll be able to get on with life with minimal disruption. Often, the obvious path forward is the right one. If you can’t come to a decision, then the court will intervene and come to a decision for you.=

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