About Child Custody
In the movies, we hear a lot about guardianship. Often, one parent is fighting bitterly with the other about their parental rights. The mother wants to see the son more often or the father deserves to spend more time with his little girl. If you’re facing a child custody battle, know this: it doesn’t have to be a hard, bitter fight.
Unlike what is depicted in the movies, child custody isn’t always an “all or nothing” outcome. Below, we’ll cover terms and issues you may encounter when contending for custody of a child.
Joint custody is probably the most widely-know type of child custody. This custody involves sharing legal and possibly physical custody of your child or children. If parents have joint legal custody, parents share in decisions involved with raising the child. Joint physical custody means that both parents can spend time living with the child or children.
When you are awarded legal custody of your child or children, this means that you have both the legal right and responsibility to make decisions regarding how your child is reared. These decisions can be incredibly influential on a child’s upbringing and may include things like what type of religion a child is raised in, the type of school he or she will attend and any major medical decisions.
If you are granted physical custody of your child, this means that you have the right to have your child live with you. While you have the responsibility to care for the everyday needs of your child such as feeding them and making sure their diaper is changed, you don’t necessarily have the right to make decisions regarding how your child is reared. Please refer to the joint custody portion of this article for further information.
Sole custody is when only one of the parents has legal or physical custody over a child or children. If parents have sole legal custody, one parent makes decisions involved with raising the child. Sole physical custody means that only one parent can live with their child.