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What are the Different Types of Custody?

As a trusted custody lawyer in Suffolk County, New York, we help many people on Long Island with their legal issues. There are different types of custody aspects where a lawyer is required to step in. Here are the 4 common types of custody:

  • Physical custody
  • Legal custody
  • Sole custody
  • Joint custody

When two parents divorce with children, figuring out what to do with the child is an aspect that looms large. Fortunately, most cases are decided with no input from the courts. And the parents come to a conclusion amicably.

However, for those parents who cannot come to an agreement, that is when the courts and lawyers need to get involved. When this happens, a “custody battle” ensues and it is up to the court and the lawyers to come to a conclusion on how to handle the children and their living arrangements.


4 Types of Child Custody

Let’s take a deeper look at the four most common types of child custody.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is when a parent has legal custody of the child and has the right to make any decisions regarding the needs of the child. The parent with legal custody has the ability to make all of the decisions about education, health care, religion and more without needing to consult the other parent.

In most cases, the courts want to allow joint legal custody. This way both parents can retain their legal rights as far as any decisions made about or for the child.

Physical Custody

Physical custody means that the child lives with one parent and has visitation rights for the non-custodial parent. If the child spends an equal amount of time with both parents, then the state might want to award joint physical custody. This way the parents get equal parenting time with the child.

Joint shared or 50/50 custody is common and the courts are finally recognizing the importance of the child or children having equal time with each parent.

Sole Custody

With sole custody, the parent will have either sole legal custody or sole physical custody or both. Unless it is proven that a parent is unfit, there is often a trend in court to award custody in a manner that will give the non-custodial parent an opportunity to play a larger role in their child’s life. It is quite rare for the court to award sole legal custody.

When the court orders sole physical custody, the non-custodial parent is able to enjoy ample visitation. In sole physical custody, both parents will share equally in any decisions that are made in regard to the child’s needs.

Joint Custody

Joint custody means that the custody of the child is awarded to both parents. It is the same as sole custody and can be awards as joint legal custody or joint physical custody or both.

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Other Custody Terms

There is a lot of unofficial language you might hear in regard to custody battles. Here are some other common custody terms you might hear. If you need help in a custody battle, Elsie Acevedo Attorney at Law is there to be your custody lawyer.

Full Custody

Full custody is a term that is used interchangeably with sole custody, but sole custody is the more accepted legal term. Both mean that one parent has all or the majority or parenting time and all of the legal custody.

Shared Custody

Shared custody is a synonym for joint custody, where each of the parents share time and responsibilities.

Primary Custody

Primary custody gives one parent the vast majority of parenting time with the other parent getting some visitation time. The parent whom the child mostly lives with is often the one called the primary residential custodian or primary residential parent.

Partial Custody

Partial custody is essentially primary custody from the nonprimary parent’s point of view. With primary custody, the parent with less parenting time is said to have partial custody.

Split Custody

Split custody is custody that allows parents with multiple children to each provide the primary residence for at least one child. An example of this is that one parent could have sole or primary physical custody of a child and the other might have sole or primary physical custody of another child. This is the rarest type of custody as a court is more than likely to award custody to parents that are both fit to care for their children.

Bird’s Nest Custody

Bird’s nest custody refers to a rare custodial agreement, which is usually an agreement between the parents, where a child lives full-time in the family home, while his or her parents, who in this case share legal and physical custody, take turns moving into and out of the home.

Ms Acevedo

Contact Us Today

Since Ms Acevedo is a sole practitioner, you will get one-on-one consultations when you reach out to our Long Island law office. She will see you through the legal proceedings regarding custody battles and other family law issues. Ms Acevedo handles cases for clients across Suffolk County, Long Island in a wide range of ways.

When you reach out, she will provide you with a no-obligation consultation and go over the issues of the case before taking it on. If you need a custody lawyer today, please do not hesitate to reach out!