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What are the Types of Custody?

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Warnock Family Law | Child Custody

There are two types of custody:  Legal Custody and Physical Custody.  Physical Custody is generally the one everyone thinks of when referring to custody.  Physical Custody governs where the children live.  

Legal Custody has to do with a parent’s control or decision-making authority with regard to a child’s medical issues, religious upbringing, or education and schooling.  This can guide long-term consequences for your children such as ensuring they get the proper medical treatment, or religious instruction at an early age.  In Nevada, the Courts hold the presumption that parents are joint custodians and that each parent is capable of making these decisions together, jointly to care for their children.  

Physical Custody, on the other hand, is where the children live, where they spend their time.  In Nevada, the courts begin with a preference, not a presumption, that parents can split time with the children so that all parties get somewhat-equal time with their children.  Physical Custody is what most people are thinking of when they say they want custody.  In Nevada, the Courts hold a preference that the parents share Joint Physical Custody.  This is when the parents split time with their children, with each parent getting somewhere between 40% and 60% of the time with the children.  This can consist of various timeshare splits:  seven days on/seven days off or a three/four day split.  Or really, any split that the parents decide that work for the best interests of the children. 

Primary Physical Custody is the designation when one parent has the children 61% of the time or more.  This means that the parent with the greater timeshare is deemed the custodial parent.  This can make for timeshares such as two days per week with one parent and five with the other, or one parent exercising time every other weekend.  This is also usually the designation in place when one parent lives in a different state.

Sole Legal Custody is sometimes granted by the Court to one parent.  This happens when one parent gets all the decision-making authority.  For instance, if one parent is completely uninvolved and wants nothing to do with the child, or has been convicted of a serious crime, or is in prison, the other parent could be granted Sole Legal Custody.  This is an infrequent type of custody granted.

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