Most people are familiar with the term ‘child custody’, but what exactly does this mean? The phrase used to describe parental rights and obligations regarding the care of children in the event of a divorce or separation, child custody cases are oftentimes complicated and stressful. While it is safe to say that everyone has a general idea of what child custody is, not everyone knows and understands the different types of child custody that can be awarded by the court system. Because child custody is both a confusing and important subject, we thought it would be helpful to breakdown the various types in order to give people a better understanding of what to expect in these types of battles. There are many different legal and professional terms used when talking about child custody, which can be confusing on their own. Whether you are a recently divorced parent going through a custody case or fear there is a custody battle in your future, it may help you to educate yourself about the different types of custody and how it is awarded.
The Different Types of Child Custody
There are several basic types of child custody that all parents should be aware of, including the following:
- Physical Custody
Perhaps the most commonly known type of child custody, physical custody, has to do with the everyday caretaking responsibilities for the child. This type of custody also determines the primary residence of the child, which means that the person with physical custody of the child is then responsible for providing them with essentials, including food, shelter, and clothing. In most cases, the court or other ruling body will award physical custody, giving the designated parent the right to have the child live with him or her.
- Legal Custody
This type of custody has to do with the important decision-making responsibilities for the child’s upbringing. These responsibilities may include decisions regarding the child’s education, health care, religious issues, and any other issues that may have an impact on the child’s life and well-being.
- Sole Custody
When sole custody is granted, one parent is awarded both physical and legal custody of the child. While the other parent may have visitation rights, they do not have any custodial rights and do not have a say in the child’s upbringing or any decisions affecting the child’s well-being. In the event that one parent has decided to remarry or live with a new partner and that partner is deemed unfit for the child, the courts will typically award sole physical custody to the other parent, as they are in a better position to care for the child.
- Joint Legal Custody
In these types of situations, both parents have a say in the important decisions that impact the child and his or her upbringing. If a major dispute ensues or the parents cannot come to an agreement on a particular subject, the courts can settle the dispute.
- Joint Physical Custody
In these situations, both parents share custody of the child, which means the child will split time living with both parents. The duration of time spent with each parent will either be determined by the courts or settled out of court, depending on the particular situation.
If you are in the middle of a divorce or separation and have children, it is important for you to contact a child custody lawyer from Atkins & Markoff as soon as possible. Our knowledgeable family lawyers will go over your case and help ensure that the best interests of your child are put first. To learn more about child custody in Oklahoma, contact Atkins & Markoff today.