Child custody can be complex, and there is a lot for divorcing parents to sort through as they navigate the process. As parents become familiar with their custody arrangement, it is helpful for them to know the different types of child custody.
The different types of child custody
There are several different types of child custody arrangements that are available to co-parents:
- Joint legal custody – this allows both parents to participate in the decision-making process for the child. Legal custody refers to important decisions for the child, including their education, healthcare and religious upbringing.
- Sole legal custody – refers to arrangements when one parent has legal decision-making authority for the child and does not have to consult the other parent. The non-custodial parent may not have any say in how the child is raised.
- Primary residential custody – if the child lives with one parent greater than half the time, they are considered to have primary residential custody.
- Shared residential custody – if the child resides with both parents equally, the parents have shared residential custody of the child.
A parenting plan needs to be developed between the parents, based on what is best for the child. All child custody arrangements are determined based on what is in the best interests of the child. Grandparent visitation may also be possible if that is in the best interests of the child.
The child custody arrangement must be best for the child, so parents should be familiar with the different types of child custody that are available. That knowledge will help them determine what combination of child custody works best for their family. No matter what ends up happening, the child’s best interests need to be put at the forefront.