Child custody orders have many different points. Many people focus on what type of custody a parent has when they are discussing these orders. There are several different points that you should look at when you are trying to determine what is included in your child custody situation.
There are two different points of a child’s life that are included in the child custody order. Legal custody means having control over the decisions for the child’s life, including education, medical and other areas. Physical custody means having the child with you.
One of the factors that matters is whether the order is for sole or joint custody. Sole custody means that one parent has the child with them or can make the decisions for that child. The other parent will have visitation rights with the child so that the relationship can continue. Joint custody means that both parents spend time with the child and can make decisions for them.
There are several different options that the court has when setting up the custody order. These include:
- Full sole custody: One parent has physical and legal custody of the child
- Full physical custody, joint legal custody: One parent has the child living with them most of the time, but both parents make decisions for the child
- Full legal custody, joint physical custody: One parent makes the decisions for the child, but both parents spend equal time with the child
- Full joint custody: Both parents share legal and physical custody of the child
The court can break the order down even further to outline when the child will have time with each parent and which parent can make specific decisions for the child. For many parents, a detailed custody order makes everything go a bit smoother. Others might want more flexibility in what is going to happen. It is important that your custody arrangement take the child’s needs and specific circumstances into account.