Different Types of Child Custody

types of child custody

During a divorce, there are four main types of child custody.  It is possible for both parents to end up with the terms of child custody with the court’s approval.

types of child custody

However, sometimes, the parents cannot reach a mutual decision about child custody. When this occurs, a child custody attorney is hired and mediation or litigation ensues.  At that time, the court has to make the decision about how the parents will share custody of their children.

The Four Primary Types of Child Custody

Sole Custody

In this case, a single parent will have either sole legal custody, sole physical custody or both. This type of child custody is awarded to a parent or a guardian if the other parent is deemed unfit to raise the child. In some cases, the family court will award this type of custody in a way that gives the noncustodial parent some opportunity to take part in the child’s life.

Shared Parental Responsibility

Shared parental responsibility is awarded to both parents and is on par with the terms of joint custody. The court usually awards this custody to both parents who show that they are fit to raise the child, and is in the child’s best interest. This type of child custody can be awarded as both joint legal custody and joint physical custody even if the two parents have never lived together.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is often referred to as timesharing. In this case, the child spends most of the time with one parent or guardian and only visits the other parent on occasion. Sometimes, both parents spend an equal amount of time with their child, rotating weekends, holidays, and weekdays.

Legal Custody

If a parent, grandparent or guardian has sole custody, that caregiver can make all the decisions regarding the child without consulting the other parent. However, in Florida, the court often awards shared parental responsibility to both parents, giving them legal rights concerning any decisions that need to be made regarding their child. In cases where the one parent is abusive or has ended communication, it is possible to convince the court that it’s in the best interest of your child for you to have sole legal custody.

Dealing With Child Custody Issues

The laws vary from state to state, so it’s important to talk with a qualified, experienced divorce/paternity lawyer when dealing with types of child custody issues. We also have a list of Florida Child Custody Guidelines on our website.

As a parent, a grandparent or a step-parent, you may find it more difficult to obtain your preferred custody without legal representation. Divorce is difficult on its own, so understanding the types of child custody and what you need to do can reduce your stress and make the transition easier on your child.

Call Eric C. Cheshire, Esquire P.A. for a consultation on your case. (561) 655-8844 or feel free to fill out our “Family Law Questions” on our website. This question is sent directly to Attorney Cheshire and he will reply back to you.

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