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The Five Types of Child Custody Explained

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The only grounds needed in the majority of states to obtain a divorce is irreconcilable differences. If only the aftermath was a simple and straightforward as that. Divorce is common in our society, and even if a couple was not married at the time of their child’s birth, the complications that stem from a custody battle still apply. If you and your partner are not able to come to a joint decision on custody, the court will make the decision based on a variety of factors, namely, who will be able to provide the best care and home life for the child. Contact a skilled attorney today to discuss your custody options, which are split into five specific categories.

Sole Legal Custody

In a case of sole legal custody, one parent has the full authority of the court to make decisions for their child. These decisions include all aspects of the child’s day-to-day activities, education, and healthcare. Sole legal custody is granted when one parent is absent, abusive, has a history of violence, abuses alcohol or drugs, is otherwise dangerously irresponsible, or the parents are unable to avoid conflict with one another.

Sole Physical Custody

When one parent is granted sole physical custody, it means that the child lives only with that parent. While this gives the child a fairly uninterrupted day-to-day life, it means that they will not likely see one parent as often as the other. However, visitation can be given to the other parent to ensure regular visits and to keep the bond with that other parent intact.

Joint Legal Custody

Generally, if the conditions are good, both parents will be granted joint legal custody, meaning that both have the authority to make decisions for their child or children. Parents must be able to talk with one another on a fairly regular basis and come to conclusive decisions without the common prevalence of great disputes.

Shared Custody or Joint Physical Custody

Shared custody, sometimes referred to as joint physical custody, can be a more optimal agreement than any of the previous scenarios if the relationship between the parents is not hostile. It does, however, mean that the child’s regular life schedule and sleeping arrangements will be interrupted on a frequent basis. In shared custody, both parents make decisions about their child and split their time as close to equal as possible.

Bird’s Nest Custody

Possibly the most rare type of custody is bird’s nest custody, which few consider or even know about. In a bird’s nest custody situation, it is the parents that move in and out of the child’s home, not the other way around. This gives the child a more stable home environment where they live full time. The parents, in this scenario, agree on times when they move in and out of the house. While more difficult to arrange, possibly more expensive, and obviously more of a hassle for the parents, this bird’s nest custody agreement is often the most stable and comfortable situation for the child and often results in better grades and social life for the child.

Let an Attorney Help You Today

Do you need assistance with your divorce or with creating a custody plan that works for you and your family? Call a skilled child custody lawyer in Bloomington today for legal advice of your upcoming custody arrangements and for any of your family law needs.



Thanks to Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into family law and child custody.

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