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  • Writer's pictureDan Pocklington

Types of Child Custody Agreements

Updated: Feb 15, 2019

Child custody battles are one of the most sensitive legal processes that parents go through. The main goal of custody litigation is to see to it that the best interests of your child or children are served – and we’re here to help you achieve that.

The parental preference rule is the most common practice among most states. If both you and your spouse are presumed fit for child custody, the court initially recommends that you both agree to a mutual arrangement that will work best for your child. If the court determines neither you nor your spouse is fit for custody, custody may be awarded to a third party.

Here are some of the main types of custody:

Physical Custody: Physical custody is a parent’s right to live with his or her child. The court may decide to assign joint physical custody to both parents or sole physical custody to one parent, always in the best interest of the child. The child primarily lives with the parent with sole custody with the other parent granted visitation rights.

Legal Custody: Parents charged with legal custody have the right and obligation to provide the proper upbringing of their child. They should make sure that all of the child’s needs are cared for. Legal custody may be granted jointly to both parents or solely to one parent.

Joint Custody: Normally, the most ideal option is joint physical and legal custody wherein both parents are mandated to decide what is best for the needs of the child. The court may also decide to grant joint legal custody to both parents but sole physical custody to one parent or alternate physical custody to both parents but sole legal custody to one parent.

Sole Custody: This is the traditional type of child custody where one parent is given full custodial rights to the child with the other parent mandated to give child support and having only visitation rights. The custodial parent possesses sole legal responsibility, physical care of the child.

Split Custody: This custodial arrangement is applicable when there are two or more children involved. Under this custody type, a designated number of children stay with one parent while the rest stay with the other parent. In alternating periods as agreed upon, the two groups of children may switch residences. Each parent must assume full parental responsibility for the children while in his or her care.

Third Party Custody: The court may award child custody to a third party if both parents die, if one parent dies but the surviving spouse is unfit or if both parents are unfit due to a history of violence, alcohol addiction or drug abuse, for example. Possible persons qualified for third party custody are grandparents, uncles, aunts or stepparents.

What then is the best approach to a child custody battle?

Custody of your child should be viewed by you and your spouse not as a battle but as a cooperative effort to secure the best interest of your child.

If you need help in a child custody case in the San Francisco Bay Area, call Pocklington Law for help at (925) 295-1304. We’re ready to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your family.

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