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Understanding the difference between the types of child custody

Child custody is an important issue that millions of people have to deal with each year. Marriages end. Relationships fizzle. Parents fail to get along with each other. All of these are reasons for child custody battles to occur in Winston-Salem. Many parents enter these battles without knowing exactly what child custody is or how it is handled by family law courts.

There are just two types of child custody: legal and physical. That's it. Legal custody allows a parent to make important decisions regarding the child's life; religious upbringing, education, health care, welfare and more. Physical custody defines with whom the child with live.

Within physical custody there are a couple of alternatives available. These include sole custody, joint custody and alternating custody. Sole custody is when one of the parents has exclusive legal rights to make decisions on the child's behalf and has physical custody of the child.

Joint custody occurs when both parents share time with the child. In the best scenario it will be a 50-50 split for parenting time. In most cases, this does not happen, as the child will spend more time with one parent than the other.

Alternating custody is defined as the parents of the child alternating days of custody. Maybe the child is with the mother every Monday and Tuesday. Then the child is with the father every Wednesday and Thursday. Then the parents alternate custody from Friday through Sunday.

If you find yourself headed for a child custody fight with the other parent of your child you need to get a better understanding of what it entails. You don't want to be ill-prepared for these hearings or court appearances. You will only put yourself at a disadvantage.

Source: The Good Men Project, "Child Custody 101," Armin Brott, Jan. 30, 2018

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