Different Types of Child Custody

Different Types of Child Custody

When a divorcing couple has children, one of the most pressing issues is who will care for the kids. New York courts and mediators typically take a “best interest of the child” approach: who can best provide for the child’s emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs?

Your custody arrangement may differ, depending on income, work schedules, childcare availability and more. Here’s an overview of the different types of child custody.

Physical custody

Physical custody is what most people think of when they hear “custody.” It refers to whom the child lives with on a daily basis. Parents can share physical custody under various arrangements: 50/50, every weekend, every other weekend and more.

Some parents do get sole custody, however. This is common when one parent lives too far away to make shared custody practicable, or is otherwise unfit to care for the child (i.e., substance abuse, incarceration, severe mental illness, abandonment, abuse and neglect).

Legal custody

Legal custody refers to the decision-making authority of each parent. For example, parents with legal custody (shared or sole) can make healthcare, religious and educational decisions. Most of the time, parents share legal custody. Practically speaking, however, the day-to-day decisions are made by the parent with physical custody.

Getting sole legal custody is possible. This usually happens when one parent is unable or unwilling to make decisions on their child’s behalf. For example, they may suffer from mental health or substance abuse issues that prevent them from making good decisions. They may be completely absent, or uninterested in their children’s lives. Sometimes the hostility between the parents makes it impossible for them to share custody. This can also be true when one parent is abusive.

Mediation can help resolve custody issues and create a fair parenting plan, without the need to litigate in court. Call the seasoned divorce mediators at Solutions Divorce Mediation in Long Island today.

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