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Spotlight on Sole Child Custody

In some cases, a judge may grant sole child custody to a parent in a situation where the other parent is believed to be unfit or incapable of having any responsibility over a child. The sole custody of a child is the right of a parent to retain exclusive physical custody and legal rights of the child... More >>

Divorce can be one of the most unpleasant experiences a person may have in life. Along with endless procedures of mundane paperwork there is also the draining emotional distress involved with every divorce. One of the most difficult and emotionally draining questions, however, is “Who gets custody of the children?"

Sometimes parents, having only the best interest of their children in mind, can come to a mutual agreement. Setting aside their personal differences for the sake of raising their child in a loving and nurturing environment, both parents agree to joint custody. In this case, both parents share equal legal, as well as physical, custody, and resolve personal issues.

Other times, the decision about child custody does not come easy and the bundle of rights and bundle of rights and responsibilities has to be determined. Child custody is divided into numerous concepts that attempt to present options that every party involved can agree on and live with.

Even though custody and visitation rights are never considered to be final, there are several outcomes that dictate custody arrangements, at least until further decisions are reached, including:

Legal Custody
The parent with legal custody can make all decisions regarding the health, welfare, and education of the child. Physical Custody - determines which parent has the actual, physical right to be with the child.

Sole Legal Custody
When one parent is awarded sole legal custody, that parent makes all decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of the child (and the other parent has no input on these decisions)

Sole Physical Custody
When one parent is given sole physical custody, the child remains with him/her and the other parent is excluded from having physical custody of the child (typically when the other parent has abused or neglected the child)

Joint Legal Custody
Both parents participate in reaching decisions regarding the health, education and welfare of the child. In a Joint Physical Custody - both parents have the ability to be with the child, typically joint physical custody is coupled with a parenting plan to determine who will be with the child at what particular time.