Determining which type of child custody is right for you can be confusing if you do not know the differences in the custody types. There are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Those two types of custody can be set up in different ways based on a number of factors. A few definitions that are important to understand as you try and determine which type of custody is right for you include: joint legal custody, sole legal custody, sole physical custody, joint physical custody, and primary physical custody.
The term ‘legal custody’ has to do with the parent’s rights to control or make decisions over certain aspects of the child’s life. The areas that legal custody apply to include medical issues, religious upbringing, education, and schooling. In Nevada, both parents have the right to make these types of decisions for children. However, there are times when legal custody has to be adjusted to protect the best interest of the child.
Sole legal custody
Sole legal custody gives one parent all of the decision-making authority when it comes to the needs of the child. A parent with sole legal custody generally does not have to consult or consider the other parent when making decisions about medical treatment, religious upbringing, education, or schooling. Sole legal custody is primarily granted in situations where the parent is completely uninvolved in the life of the child, is in prison, or has been convicted of a serious crime.
Physical custody refers to where the children spend their time and where they live. This is the type of custody that most people think of when talking about a custody arrangement. The physical custody arrangement will outline how much time your kids get with you and where they live. Many families can come to a physical custody agreement that works for everyone through mediation. If you cannot determine a physical custody arrangement that everyone can agree to, you will go to court to get help with that determination.
Joint physical custody
Joint physical custody is an arrangement that gives children time with each parent. In Nevada, joint physical custody is the preference and generally the first choice of the courts. Parents split time with the children with each parent getting between 40 and 60 percent of the time with the kids. The specific design of the split when you have joint custody can be customized to the needs of the parents and the children.
Primary physical custody
Primary physical custody happens when one parent has the kids at least 61% of the time. When one parent has primary physical custody, the other parent may see the kids on the weekends or have longer stretches of time during breaks from school. This setup is common when one parent lives far away from the child and joint physical custody is not logistically possible.
Now that you understand the basics of the different types of custody, you can start thinking about which type is right for you and your children. Your lawyer can help you even more with the process of understanding custody and will help you fight for the amount of time you want with your kids.