Understanding Two Different Types Of Child Custody

If you and your spouse have decided to spit up, then you may decide to share the custody of your children. Custody arrangements are rarely clear-cut, and they may even seem incredibly confusing. If you have very little experience with custody arrangements, then keep reading to learn about a few common terms you may hear when working with your attorney and your spouse's attorney.

Joint Custody

Joint custody is a commonly misunderstood term. While you may think that joint custody means that you and your spouse will share custody in a 50/50 arrangement, this is rarely the case. The legal term for joint custody is actually joint managing conservatorship. This means that you and your spouse will share duties, decisions, and information. Basically, the mother and father will have equal say when it comes to making education, health, and welfare decisions that affect the children. Equal access to records will be granted and you each will have the ability to speak with doctors, counselors, and teachers. 

However, the joint managing conservatorship does not specifically designate visitation. There will typically be one primary conservator and a secondary one. The primary one is the individual who decides where the children will live. This person also typically receives child support from the secondary conservator. Visitation agreements are set up separately from the conservatorship, so make sure that your attorney is fully aware of specific arrangements that you desire.

Sole Custody

Sole custody, like joint custody, does not refer to a clear arrangement under the law when it comes to visitation and parental rights. Specifically, you or your spouse may be entitled to a similar type of custody agreement as you would if you had joint custody. However, if your spouse is the one who has sole custody, then they will be able to make all decisions regarding your child. For example, all health and education decisions will be made by this individual. Sole custody is sometimes referred to as legal custody.

Sole physical custody is also something that may happen, where you or your spouse will not be granted visitation rights. However, this is often the case if one of the parents is seen as unfit. If you or your spouse have sole physical custody, then the other parent will still have the right to make certain legal decisions. 

A parent will need to secure both sole physical and legal custody if they do not want the other parent to have visitation or to have the opportunity to see the child. This type of arrangement is not often granted unless dire circumstances are taken into account. For more information, contact local professionals like Gordon Liebmann Attorneys at Law.