Different Types of Child Custody

Divorce alone can be a complicating process, whether or not the couple is contested or uncontested. The couple will need to work through various aspects of their split including property division, spousal support and in the event there are children, they will need to determine child custody and support as well. When dealing with the topic of child custody, it is important to recognize that if you and your spouse's case require court litigation or you are able to reach an agreement through an avenue such as mediation, the primary objective during a divorce needs to be what is in the best interest of the children. Because of this, unless there are extenuating circumstances, the court often awards both parents some form of custody so that the child can experience the presence of both parents in their lives.

If you are considering a divorce, and in need of legal guidance when dealing with matters such as child custody, a Roseville divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Evan Samuelson is here to walk with you every step of the way. There are a number of different types of child custody, continue reading for a brief explanation of what each means.

  • Physical Custody: This form is among the most commonly understood terms and it simply addresses the physical presence of the child of the divorce. The parents (or the court) will determine how often and where each child is, usually meaning that the child gets to spend a significant amount of time in both homes.
  • Legal Custody: This has nothing to do with the location of the child, but rather deals with the rights of the parents in the life of the child. For example, a child may be spend time with both parents, but only one adult will have the say in legal decisions including religion, medical care, education, and the like. Often times the court will award legal custody to both parents, unless there is a specific reason that the parent is unable to or unfit to make these decisions. In this case, the parents will still have to work together on behalf of their child when deciding on how to raise their son or daughter. In this situation, a parent has the option to return before the court and seek sole legal custody over the child if they believe it is in the child's best interest.
  • Sole Custody: This can affect either the legal or physical side of child custody. Here, the court has the option of awarding only one parent either full custody over the physical whereabouts of the child, or to give only one parent the authority to make big life decisions.
  • Joint Custody: Just as the court has the option to award sole custody, in most cases they will offer joint (or shared) custody to each of the parents in some capacity. One parent may have more time, such as every week day, whereas the other parent only has every other weekend; though it varies case by case.

If a couple chooses to work out their divorce settlement while avoiding a court hearing, there is a much stronger chance that each parent will walk away content with the decision that was made regarding their children. Through mediation, for example, parents have the chance to work through custody arrangements and scheduling in order to create something that is good for each adult and the child. However, when the court gets involved, that is when things can become more complicating and the placement of the child can be more of a gamble. Please contact the Law Offices of Evan Samuelson today if you have any questions regarding a divorce or child custody. You will receive the counsel of a highly qualified Roseville family attorney who cares about you!