Types of Custody
The courts usually make their decisions based on what is best for the child or children involved in a custody negotiation. In most cases, the court will attempt to provide an arrangement which allows both parents to have a relationship with the child. However, many factors are considered when determining a custodial parent and visitation, such as the distance between the parents’ residences, work and school schedules, and medical needs.
With sole custody, the child resides with one parent– the custodial parent–, and that parent has all of the decision-making rights. The non-custodial parent may have visitation rights, but visitations are often on a more limited basis than with joint custody.
In shared custody, the child will reside with one parent for an extended amount of time, then with the other parent for an equal or similar amount of time and both parents will retain equal decision making authority. This type of custody is usually best for parents who live far away from one another.
Alternating or Divided Custody
In alternating or divided custody, the residential agreement is similar to shared custody, but the decision-making authority is awarded to the parent with which the child resides at the time.
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