What is Joint Child Custody?
Child custody deals with the physical location of the child’s residence together with the decision-making process for the child. In the majority of cases, there is “joint custody.” Usually the child has a designated residence with one parent and the other parent has strict or generally defined access time with the child. The labeling of “custody” does not affect financial obligations that either parent has to the child. If there is joint custody, then both parents are given legal access to school and medical records for the child.
What Is Shared Child Custody?
Something that is growing in popularity is the concept of “shared custody.” Generally speaking, in shared custody the parents each have the child approximately 50% of the time. There is no special way to determine the 50% allocation, but the most common child custody split is referred to as a two-two-five. This means Monday and Tuesday with one parent, Wednesday and Thursday with the other parent, and alternate Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with each parent. This is only one form of shared custody. Sometimes in shared custody, you designate which parent has the primary residence solely for school purposes. This does away with a fight when parents live in different school districts.
What is Sole Child Custody?
The third type of custody is “sole” custody. This form of child custody occurs in a minority of cases. In sole custody, the custodial parent makes the decisions on the major issues for the child’s life such as their pediatrician, which school they will go to, braces, etc. The parent with sole custody makes decisions without the need for input from the non-custodial parent. Other that the decision making process, there is no real difference from other custody issues.
Sole custody does not determine the access that the non-custodial parent has to the child and does not determine financial obligations. However, sometimes a doctor or school will be informed there is sole custody to one parent and they believe that it means that they are not obligated to supply medical or educational information to the non-custodial parent. That is not true. This misunderstanding often can cause frustration to the non-custodial parent who is not receiving the information.
My name is Jim Katz and I have been practicing family law for over 30 years. I understand that divorcing parents have a lot of questions about child custody. I invite you to call our law firm today at (860) 871-9449 for a free consultation to learn how I can help you sort through your child custody and divorce issues.