What are some common types of child custody arrangements?
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What are some common types of child custody arrangements?

When a couple with children decides to divorce, one of the most difficult choices they make is how to handle child custody. Attorneys.com notes that while joint custody is the most common arrangement currently, it is not the only choice for divorcing parents.

While local courts and judges usually choose an arrangement that best suits the welfare of the divorcing parents’ children, the parents may request one of several options available, depending on the family’s individual circumstances.

Sole custody

Parents who petition the court for sole custody of a child or children may do so because they believe the other parent is unfit for joint custody. They may do this for several reasons, including:

  • Past incidents of domestic violence
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Past incidents of neglect

Parents who desire sole custody of their children may have to prove to the courts that the other parent is not fit or able to care for a minor in a joint custody situation.

Non-parental custody

Local courts may award a third party custody of a child if neither parent can assume this responsibility or if one parent dies and the other is not fit for whatever reason the courts may find. In this case, a judge may award custody to a grandparent or other close family member who agrees to meet the financial and emotional needs of a child whose parents cannot do so.

Split custody

Courts usually try to avoid this type of custody, as it tends to fracture the family further after a divorce. However, special circumstances may require that one parent assume custody of one or more children in the family, while the other parent retains custody of the others.

Making decisions regarding child custody usually involves a variety of factors that both the presiding judge and parents must consider. A child’s age and his or her wants and needs may both affect these decisions.


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