Types of Child Custody Arrangements
There are a variety of child custody arrangements that can be implemented in order to support and care for the child. It is important to know the difference between the following terms:
Sole custody versus joint custody: Sole custody refers to a situation in which one parent has 100% custody of the child. The other parent may have visitation, but the child’s well-being and care are solely in the hands of one parent. Joint custody is where both parents share the responsibilities for the child. It may be that one parent is the primary parent, but they both have joint custody.
Legal custody versus physical custody: Legal custody is the ability of a parent to act in a decision-making capacity for a child. Typically, parents share legal custody so that they both can have input on things like education, health care and more. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child resides. While physical custody can be shared, there is often a parent that has primary physical custody, as a child may spend more time with one than the other simply due to schedules.
Establishing Parenting Plans
As part of the child custody process, it may be suggested that a parenting plan be created. Both parents, regardless of whether they are divorced or unmarried, should work together to create the parenting plan whenever possible.
This is a document that lists out a variety of things regarding the child, including holiday arrangements, school schedules, transportation arrangements, situations in which the child needs to be supervised, favorite foods or items, extracurricular activities and more. Also included in a parenting plan is information regarding a child’s pediatrician and dentist as well as other important contact information for relatives and professionals involved in the care of the child.
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