When it comes to the custody of children, the two most common types you probably hear about are sole custody and joint custody. However, there are many forms of custody and it is wise to understand your options, whether you are attempting to peacefully co-parent or you are having the court create a custody order and you want to ensure you understand it once it is in place.
Sole custody and joint custody are mostly how they sound. Sole custody means one parent has full custody of a child. This is typically reserved for cases where one parent is absent or abusive.
Joint custody is a shared custody, where both parents have relatively equal custody rights and the child splits the time between the parents and their residences. This type of custody is quite common among divorced couples and unmarried couples who have split up but have had a child.
There are other types of custody as well. Legal custody is not a decision regarding the residence of the child but instead gives you the legal rights to make decisions for the child or children regarding their health, their religious upbringing and general well-being.
Physical custody is the other aspect of custody, covering where the child will routinely reside.
The final, less common case of custody is grandparent custody, often called a guardianship. During custody, the grandparents may also be granted visitation rights.
If you are trying to find the best fit for your child as he or she adjusts to a separation, you may benefit from the counsel of a family law attorney who can further clarify and help you find the fit that everyone can live with.