Knowledge & Experience When You Need It Most

Understanding different types of child custody arrangements

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Child Custody

Child custody arrangements are important decisions made during divorce or separation that determine where and with whom the child will live.

It is important to understand the various types of custody arrangements to ensure the well-being and stability of the child.

Physical custody

Many of the 989,518 divorces in 2022 involved child custody challenges, including physical custody determinations. Physical custody refers to where the child resides on a day-to-day basis. One parent may have sole physical custody, or both parents may share physical custody (joint custody), requiring the child to spend significant time with both parents, which promotes close relationships with each parent.

Legal custody

Legal child custody is the right to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as education, healthcare and religious upbringing. Similar to physical custody, legal custody can be sole or joint custody.

Sole versus joint custody

Sole physical and legal custody grants one parent exclusive rights and responsibilities for the child’s upbringing. Joint custody involves both parents sharing responsibilities for the child’s upbringing.

Bird’s nest custody

In bird’s nest custody, the child remains in one home while the parents take turns living there and caring for the child. This arrangement provides stability for the child by minimizing disruptions to their living environment.

Split custody

Split custody occurs when each parent receives primary physical custody of at least one of multiple children. This arrangement is less common and implemented based on the children’s best interests.

Each arrangement has its advantages and challenges and what works best for one family may not be suitable for another. Ultimately, the primary focus should be on creating a custody arrangement that prioritizes the child’s well-being and allows them to maintain healthy relationships with both parents.