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Child Custody – What Are The Different Types?

Under the federal Divorce Act, a court may award one of three main types of child custody. Legal custody is separate from the issue of access – that is, the amount of time that a parent spends with a child after divorce. A parent who has custody retains the right and responsibility to make important decisions affecting a child. Our post this week looks at the three main types of child custody.

Sole Custody –A parent with sole custody has the sole right to make major decisions about a child. These decisions may govern the child’s education, healthcare, religion, activities and overall well-being. The parent can make such decisions independently and does not require consent from the non-custodial parent.

In most cases, the non-custodial parent has access to the child and is able to request and obtain information regarding the child’s welfare from both the custodial parent and other sources such as schools and healthcare providers.

Joint Custody – This means that both parents share the responsibility for and must agree on decisions regarding the child. This type of custody is best suited for parents who have similar approaches to parenting and who are generally able to cooperate and find mutual resolutions to disputes that may arise.

Split Custody – This type of custody involves splitting of two or more children between the parents. One child lives with one parent while another child lives with the other parent.

A court makes custody decisions based on many factors impacting the wellbeing of the child. An experienced family law lawyer can help divorcing parties navigate the complexities of child custody and access issues.

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