Types of Child Custody to Consider for Your Family | O'Keeffe O'Brien Lyson Attorneys

Types of Child Custody to Consider for Your Family

Deciding a child’s best interest in a child custody case can be difficult. The first step to making the best decision is knowing the various different types of child custody options to consider.


First, it’s important to understand that there are two components to custody.

  • Physical Custody – refers to where the child lives, eats, sleeps and considers primary residence.
  • Legal Custody – grants a caretaker legal rights to make medical decisions, educational decisions, living arrangements, etc. in the best interest of the child.

Together, these types of custody help determine the level of responsibility a caretaker has in making decisions for a child. There are various sub-categories that use a blend of physical and legal custody to meet the needs of families.

Common types of custody include:

Sole Custody – This is when one parent has full physical and legal custody. The sole custody parent usually has final say on all decisions regarding the child and has the majority of the time, while the other parent might have visitation rights. The court will determine what level of visitation the non-custody parent may have and will make visitation scheduling decisions.

Joint Legal Custody – This is when both parents have legal say in making medical, educational and other decisions on the child’s behalf. In the case that the parents can’t come to a joint understanding, various dispute resolution mechanisms are available including mediation, parenting coordinators and/or court intervention.

Joint Physical Custody – This is when both parents share equal time with the child. The exact schedule that may work for each family will be dependent on the specific circumstances and schedules.

The court is also able to create different combinations of custody such as: joint legal but sole physical, joint physical with sole legal, or sole custody all together.

Next Steps

If you find yourself in a child custody battle, it is important to seek professional help. Our team of family lawyers are experienced in custody law and can help you make the next legal steps and come to a joint agreement in the best interest of your child.

For more information about our services and how to set an appointment, visit our website or give us a call at (877) 235-8002.

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