Sole and Joint Child Custody: What is the Difference?

Divorce is an emotional and painful experience the couple goes through especially when children are involved. One of the main issues it faces is whether mother or father will be awarded custody. The term “child custody” describers the rights and obligation of parents towards the care of their children. There are two basic types of child custody – sole and joint, and you should know the difference if you are preparing to file for divorce, as it could have a dramatic impact on your settlement.

The major difference between joint and sole custody is that in the first case both the parents have the same rights of making decisions concerning the upbringing of their child/children; a sole custody, on the contrary, means that only father or mother has rights on decisions.

When parents are getting divorced, they can be awarded physical and legal custody. If one of the parents gets legal custody, it means he or she is entitled to make decision about the important things in the lives of their children, for instance, schooling and health care. Physical custody meant that the parent can live with the child, but has no right to make decisions related to his/her upbringing.

The parent awarded sole legal custody is entitled to make the decisions pertaining to the children. The child will leave with the parent awarded with sole physical custody. Even if one of the parent is now awarded this right, he or she can visit the child. To put it short, awarding sole physical custody is an extreme decision made only in case when mother or father is “unfit” as a parent.

In the past, predominantly mothers were granted sole custody, but today it is no longer the case as the situation when men decide to stay at home and take care of the child is becoming quite common. In these cases, the court prefers to give custody to the father in order to allow children to live in customary conditions during these very difficult times. When the interests of the children are involved, the parents should put aside their personal disagreements and offences to work out custody agreement before the court`s decision.

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