The Main Types of Child Custody: A Detailed Guide

Divorce is a physically, emotionally, and financially draining experience, especially when it involves child custody. At this point, how the whole situation will affect your kid is your worst fear..

Every parent wants the best for their children, and it’s easy to feel like you are letting them down. Fighting for child custody may seem selfish but you are just doing it out of love.

It gets worse when you do not know what to expect. However, by understanding the different types of child custody, you will be better positioned to prepare yourself for the battle, thus winning custody. Check out our guide by clicking here.

Legal Custody

Legal custody, also known as legal guardianship in Ireland, is one of the common child custody types, especially after an ugly parents’ separation. In this case, the law awards the parent the right to make important decisions regarding the kid after divorce. These decisions include:

  • Which school the child should attend
  • Cultural activities
  • Religious matters
  • Medical care

The custody can be sole or joint depending on how well the parents can work together for the child’s sake.

In most cases, the court decides the joint custody to give both parents a chance to get involved in their child’s life. This is unless the parent is unfit or incapable of making sound decisions.

Legal custody is a bit complex. Both parents have to be on the same page for the child’s best interest. It is highly advisable that you let a family law attorney represent you to avoid doing or saying things that will ruin any chance of winning the child custody battle.

Physical Custody

Simply put, physical custody is where the law grants you the right to reside with your child. That means that the child is under your care as you will be spending all the time with them. Physical custody is, in most cases, granted to one parent.

The parents may also share physical custody, whereby the child spends time with one parent for a decided period and moves to the other parent’s home for some time.

If the child spends more time in one parent’s house, for instance, during school days and moves to the other during holidays or weekends, the home where the child spends most of their time is considered their primary residence.

The court puts several aspects into account to establish the parent who deserves physical custody. The court checks which of the parents is the kid’s primary caretaker or has adequate resources to comfortably support the child. The kid is more likely to be physically and emotionally satisfied.

The parent who lives in the child’s current city is also more likely to get child custody. The child may also select their most preferred parent to live with because, in the end, it is all about what is best for the kid.

Sole Custody

When a parent is granted sole custody, they have the legal rights to make all decisions regarding the child. Sole custody can be classified as sole physical or sole legal custody. You may also be granted both.

However, in most cases, the court grants one parent more rights to the child than the other. It is rare for the court to solely grant all the rights to one parent unless the other one is deemed unfit.

The noncustodial parent has the right to visit and spend time with the child regularly but under supervision.

The primary reason for fighting for sole custody is to keep your kid safe from physical or emotional harm. This is especially if the other parent has a history of:

  • Neglect
  • Assault or sexual abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Mental health issue
  • Abandonment

The chances of winning sole custody depend on whether the two parents have agreed on the same or if the court finds you to be more fit than the other.

Split Custody

Also known as divided custody, this is where child custody is shared between the parents equally. One parent gets more rights over the kid in some instances, but the visiting parent is granted more time to spend with the kid.

The main reason for split custody is if the kid has behavioral issues and is better off with one parent. It could also be that your kid does not get along with one parent. In this case, you may seek professional assistance.

The other reason for split custody is if your child has special needs such as development or social needs.

Split custody is the best option after divorce before making further arrangements. Nonetheless, the court finds it unfavorable and believes children should live together after their parent’s separation.

For split custody to work, you should develop a schedule for each kid and do it as a couple. Ensure that whichever choices you make are favorable to kids.

For instance, you can use the weekends and holiday schedules to give the children ample time with each parent. Split custody can only work if both parents work together and are committed to making the arrangements work.

If you, as the legal custodian, exclude the other parent from decision-making, they can take you back to the court.

The law requires you to respect the orders and follow them when making any children-related decisions. Failure to do so may hurt the kids.

What’s more? You will have to incur extra legal fees if you need a lawyer to represent you.

Types of Child Custody Explained

Child custody issues are a bit confusing. The language and requirements used vary from one state to the other. Understanding the different types of child custody is the first step towards winning the battle.

Also, be sure to seek the help of an attorney and let the expert use their skills and knowledge to help you acquire custody.

We hope you now know the different kinds of child custody. Check out more law-related blogs on our site.

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