What does Child Custody mean?
Child custody arrangements will determine who will have physical and legal control of the children after a divorce or separation. Child custody arrangements include sole physical custody, where the child lives primarily with one parent but the other parent has visitation rights, or joint physical custody, where the child shuttles back and forth between each parent's home on a predefined schedule.
Legal custody allows one parent to make the major decisions affecting a child such as where they should go to school, what church they will attend and what type of medical care they will receive. Courts may also allow joint legal custody, where both parents have the legal right to make decisions together for a child, or sole legal custody, where one parent has the legal right to make major decisions for the child.
Sole custody is another child custody arrangement where one parent has either sole physical custody or sole legal custody. This arrangement is most typically used when one parent has been deemed an "unfit" parent due to alcohol, drugs, or child abuse.
Finally, parents can also have joint custody where they have both joint physical and joint legal custody of the child. In this arrangement the child may live with each parent the same amount of time and each parent has equal say in important decisions regarding the child.