Sole vs. Joint vs. Shared Custody

A parent and child hold hands while going through a child custody case

After separation or divorce in a relationship that involves children, there are several options for how the children will get to continue to live and interact with both parents.

Ultimately, the best option in each case will depend on the best interests of the child. The court system will also take into consideration the ability that each parent has to care and support the children.

Sole Custody

In a sole custody agreement one parent is given complete decision making regarding the child. They are typically responsible for caring for the child on a day-to-day basis and ensuring that the child’s well-being is looked after.

The other parent may be allowed “access” to the child in the form of visitations. In this way, the non-custodial parent can remain involved in the child’s life, even if they are not directly involved in their daily care.

Joint Custody

A joint custody agreement is one in which both parents continue to have custody of the child and make decisions about the child together. In this arrangement, both parents make the important or difficult decisions for the child together, such as decisions include schooling, medical and religious upbringing.

For Joint Legal Custody, one parent may play a more active role in the day-to-day responsibilities, while the other has regular visitation rights. This is typically called having “primary care” of the child.

Shared Custody

Shared Custody is very similar to Joint Custody in that both parents make custodial decisions together. The difference is that in Shared Custody arrangement, parents share physical custody of the child in addition to joint decision making.  This solution requires parents to be able to cooperate and communicate with one another.

Contact a Family Lawyer

If you would like to learn more about the different options for child custody, or if you would like to schedule a free initial consultation to find out what option might be right for you, simply contact Epstein & Associates today.