Types of Custody
There are two main issues:
- Who makes key decisions about the child?
- Where will the child live?
Joint custody means both parents make decisions regarding the child. The courts will award joint custody unless the parties cannot communicate civilly with each other or if one party is not interested in discussing the child.
Sole custody gives one parent the authority to make decisions regarding the child. The non-custodial parent cannot give instructions to the child’s caregivers, but is still entitled to receive information about the child’s health, education and well-being from the child’s caregivers. Practically speaking, the non-custodial parent is entitled to receive a copy of the child’s report card and the non-custodial parent can ask the child’s doctor questions.
Sometimes, the courts will award joint custody but include a clause that states that if the parents cannot agree on an issue, in spite of their best efforts, then the decision of one of the parents shall prevail. The court can review and overturn that parent’s decision, however. The courts can also award joint custody but give one parent final say on a specific issue, such as the child’s religion.
There can be joint custody but one parent has day-to-day care and control of the child.
Shared custody means that child spends an approximately equal amount of time with both parents. Shared custody usually reduces the amount of child support payable. Split custody means that one child resides with one parent and another child resides with another parent. Split custody also affects child support payable.