Understanding What Types of Child Custody Are Available 

Before deciding on the type of child custody arrangement that is right for your family, it’s important to understand what types of child custody are available. This article will discuss joint physical custody, sole physical custody, and parental visitation rights. Ultimately, your final decision will depend on the best interests of the child. 

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Joint physical custody 

Joint physical custody is a form of child custody that ensures that both parents have regular contact with their children. While this arrangement may seem more difficult than a traditional split custody arrangement, it is much more logistically feasible and allows both parents to be involved in raising their children. Moreover, joint physical custody can be worked into virtually any parenting schedule. For example, parents who live close to one another can arrange for midweek visits, extended weekends, or even longer holiday breaks. Parents who can’t get together regularly, they can arrange for regular phone calls. 

When a couple gets divorced, they may decide to choose joint physical custody. Joint physical custody means that the child will spend half of each parent’s time with the child. This arrangement is usually the best option if both parents live in the same state. This is because the child will have less stress from being with each parent. Additionally, joint physical custody agreements tend to be more beneficial for children as they keep the children’s routines similar. However, in some cases, the courts may find that joint physical custody is not in the best interest of the child and award the custodial parent sole physical custody. 

Sole physical custody 

A child custody order can grant one parent sole legal custody or joint physical custody of their child. Legal custody involves important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing and includes topics such as religious tutelage, health care, and education. Physical custody, on the other hand, involves everyday caretaking duties. In other words, physical custody is where the child lives and spends the most time. Parents who share physical custody of their child share responsibilities for the child’s upbringing, such as clothes, shelter, and health care. 

Sole physical custody is different from joint custody in that both parents share equal time with their children. Joint physical custody allows for ample visitation with the other parent but requires equal participation in decision-making. Joint legal and physical custody are two different things, and the laws for child custody vary from state to state. As a result, each state’s laws will determine the meaning of the custody decree. 

Parental visitation rights 

In child custody proceedings, the noncustodial parent may be granted parental visitation rights. These visitation rights allow the noncustodial parent to spend time with the child. These rights are determined by the court based on the child’s best interests. Courts consider factors such as proximity to schools, doctor’s offices, friends, and the community in which the child resides. 

If the parents can agree on a reasonable visitation schedule, the court will defer to that parent’s wishes. Parents should also remember that if the two parents cannot agree, they must file a formal motion seeking a court order to establish the visitation schedule. 

The court may also deny visitation rights if the noncustodial parent can show that visitation will cause the child harm. Courts are more likely to deny visitation rights if the noncustodial parent has abused the child in the past or is suffering from mental illness. A noncustodial parent with a criminal record is also not automatically denied visitation rights.