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The 2 types of child custody

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2024 | Divorce |

If you’re getting divorced, dividing custody of your children is an important step to take. Ideally, the two of you will continue to cooperate as co-parents after the divorce. But you still need a plan in place to ensure that this happens and to define your rights and obligations.

To do this, you need to understand the two main types of custody:

1. Physical custody

When many people think about child custody, they are only thinking about where the child is going to live. And that is half of the equation. This is often referred to as parenting time, and parents do need to divide physical custody in a way that makes sense with their schedule and their family life. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be split 50/50, but both parents will usually have some time with the child. If full custody isn’t possible, options like visitation may be used.

2. Legal custody

But the other side of the coin is legal custody, which is often referred to as decision-making power. This is an entirely separate type of custody that can be divided up differently than parenting time.

Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions for the child. These decisions could include things like where the child goes to school or what medical care they get.

In some cases, custody can be divided unevenly. For instance, both parents may have parenting time, but only one parent may be given the legal ability to make decisions for the child. In other cases, the child lives with one parent 100% of the time, but both parents still work together to make crucial decisions.

It all depends on the specifics of your case, but you can see how important it is to understand all of your legal options at this time.

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