The types of custody that parents can choose from depend on the state where they live and the specific situation of their child.

Physical custody

You have the right to have your child physically live with you. In some states, joint physical custody of a child is allowed. In that case, you and your ex-spouse have equal amounts of time for custody of your child.

Physical custody allows you and your ex-spouse to spend a maximum amount of time with your child. However, this type of custody will work only if you and your ex-spouse live near each other and have a cordial relationship.

Legal custody

This gives you the right and responsibility to decide on the upbringing of your child. Legal custody means you can decide for your child in terms of healthcare, schooling, and religious upbringing. Most states allow parents to have joint legal custody of their children, so both parents can make decisions involving the child. The only problem with legal custody is that conflicts may arise when the upbringing principles of parents clash.

Sole custody

Sole custody gives custodial rights to only one parent while the other parent’s rights are limited only to visiting the child. This arrangement is used when the child may be harmed in one parent’s home.

Among all types of child custody, sole custody is the least disruptive to the child. Because of the very limited interaction of one of the parents to the child, this type of custody may lead to conflict between parents.

Joint custody

This arrangement is used when a court orders or parents agree to share decision-making rights over their child’s upbringing. Usually, the parents agree to coordinate their schedules to make it work. Sometimes, a court orders the parents to do it. Joint custody of a child may be joint physical custody, joint legal custody, or both.

Children benefit from joint custody because they are guaranteed of continuous involvement and contact with both parents. However, children have to be moved often from one parent’s house to another parent’s house, and this setup can be costly. Click to share your own story with others.