For most parents who separate, their main concern is the well-being of their children. In Florida, child custody laws play a main role in how parenting time is divided or which parent gets custody of the children. The types of child custody and legal terms surrounding this subject can be confusing. Here’s a basic overview of the main types of child custody arrangements.
Physical vs legal custody
Physical and legal custody are two different things. Physical custody is as the name implies and pertains to which parent the children physically reside with and the day-to-day child-rearing responsibilities. When a parent has legal custody, it means they have the right to make important or legal decisions on behalf of the child. These are typically decisions surrounding the children’s education, health care and religious upbringing.
Sole vs joint custody
Sole custody means only one parent is entitled to legal or physical custody of the children. Sole custody is not as common and usually awarded to a parent when the other parent is deemed unfit. Joint custody is a far more common arrangement and essentially means both parents share the responsibility of child-rearing and making decisions related to the lives of the children. Sole custody can be sole physical and/or sole legal custody, while joint custody can also be joint legal custody and/or joint physical custody.
Help with child custody matters
Child custody can be one of the most challenging parts of a divorce. Those in Florida who have questions regarding child custody or custody laws may want to consider meeting with a legal professional. An experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney can answer questions and help parents determine what is right for them.