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On the different forms of child custody

When the topic of child custody comes up, some people think of the matter as a "one size fits all" topic. However, there are numerous different types of child custody, and depending on the circumstances of the divorce, the custody arrangement may change.

But what are these different types of custody? There are four types that could apply to a divorce:

  • Physical custody relates to the physical space where the child will live. In other words, the parent with physical custody will have the child live with them.
  • Legal custody relates to the decision making power the parent has over the child. In other words, the parent with legal custody can make educational, religious, and medical decisions for their child, as well as other general upbringing issues.
  • Sole custody relates to just one of the parents having one of the above forms of custody. So a parent could have sole legal custody, meaning the mother or father would have the decision making ability for the child's upbringing.
  • Joint custody relates to the shared responsibility of physical or legal custody. Joint custody arrangements are common, as the two parents want to be involved in their child's life.

As you can see, some of these forms of custody can overlap, and the child custody arrangements can also change over time. When it comes to child custody, it is best to talk about your arrangement and any complications with your attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "The Various Types of Child Custody," Accessed June 20, 2017

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