What are the different types of child custody?

Child Custody Lawyer Rockville, MD

Family law is a very complex, broad area of the law. When it comes to child custody, there are two primary types of custody: physical custody and legal custody.

Typically, one parent will be granted physical custody. This parent may then share legal custody with the non custodial parent.

  • Physical Custody – Refers to the residence in which the child will live full time.
  • Legal Custody – Refers to the right to make decisions regarding the child’s education, religion, upbringing, medical care, and other important concerns.

When one parent has been awarded physical custody, the non custodial parent may be granted visitation rights. These rights are often according to a schedule of specific dates and times. The exception to visitation rights may be when the non custodial parent has been accused of abuse. If this is true, a neutral third party may be required to oversee all visitation. Grandparents and stepparents may also be granted visitation rights.

Joint Custody and Split Custody

Some parents decide on joint custody. This is when the child will share equal amounts of time with both parents. Joint custody is only successful when both parents are cooperative, live nearby, and can make appropriate decisions for the sake and wellbeing of the child.

Split custody is another option. This involves at least two children, and applies when one parent has custody of at least one child and the other parent also has custody of at least one child. In general, the court does not favor split custody as it splits up the children.

Sole Custody

A parent with sole custody has physical and legal custody over the child. This means he or she will have the exclusive right to make all of the decisions for the care of the child. Sole custody is not commonly granted, and usually only done when the other parent is unfit, incapable of having responsibility of the child, or has died. In a sole custody situation, the non custodial parent will not have any physical or legal custodian rights. However, he or she may be entitled to some visitation with the child. Usually these visitation periods are supervised, especially when child abuse or domestic violence is a factor.

When the Parents Are Not Married

Depending on the state, when the parents are not legally married, there is a high chance that the mother will be given sole physical custody, unless the father has filed a motion for physical custody. In general, an unwed father will have a hard time in getting sole physical custody of a child if the mother is deemed to be a good parent. If the children are old enough (usually 10-13 years), the court may take their preference into consideration.

Changing the Child Custody Agreement

A child custody agreement can be disputed and modified on a case by case basis, and when approved by the court.

When Children Are Involved, Experience is Everything!

Child custody and visitation decisions can have a major impact on the lives of everyone involved. The advocacy of an experienced child custody lawyer Rockville, MD relies on at The Law Office of Daniel J. Wright is essential during the decision making process and can make a significant difference in the outcome of a case.