What is the Most Common Form of Child Custody? 

When divorced parents are fighting over their children, they often need to resolve a custody issue. Fortunately, the majority of these disputes can be resolved amicably. However, some cases are more complicated and require the help of a family law attorney. 

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What is the most common form of child custody?

Most courts consider the best interests of a child when making custody decisions. This involves looking at various factors including each parent’s work and lifestyle, any abuse or drug use by the other parent and the child’s wishes and needs. 

Joint Custody – This type of custody involves both parents making major decisions about the child’s life together. This includes medical care, education and religious upbringing. 

Sole Custody – This type of child custody is reserved for situations where one parent is unfit for the job or is a danger to the child. These cases are typically due to abuse or mental health issues. 

Bird’s Nest Custody – In this case, the child lives in a central location where the parents rotate in and out on a schedule. This arrangement can ease the transitions for kids and save money on housing expenses. 

Virtual Visitation – This allows parents to meet via videoconferencing. Generally, this is used when parents live far apart and travel would be impractical. 

Joint Physical Custody – This is another popular child custody arrangement. This allows both parents to spend significant time with their children and can include sleepovers and supervised visits. 

In these cases, each parent is given the same amount of time with their child, usually 50% each. This may be done by court order or by agreement between the parents. 

The classic 65/35 split, where the parent with primary custody has 3-day visitation every other weekend and the non-custodial parent sees their child on alternating Mondays and Thursdays is the most common form of joint physical custody. 

These types of arrangements are a good starting point when the parents can’t reach an agreement, as long as it meets the best interest of the child. They also allow both parents to be involved in the child’s upbringing and are often more stable than other forms of custody. 

50/50 Arrangements (or “Family Court” custody) are widely considered to be the best form of custody. They allow both parents to have significant involvement in the child’s upbringing and are usually a preferred option for divorcing couples. 

While 50/50 arrangements are favored by many families, they can be challenging if the parents live far apart or have different ideas about what is best for their child. The onset of the pandemic made shared custody even more difficult as parents faced hard choices about virtual schooling, childcare and quarantine locations for their children. 

In most cases, the best way to determine what is the best custody arrangement for your child is to sit down with a qualified family law lawyer. These attorneys can guide you through the process and ensure that your custody agreement is fair to the child. They will also advise you on what to expect if the case goes to trial.