What is Child Custody?

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There are two types of child custody:

Physical Custody: Who the children live with. Often one parent is designated to have physical custody of the children, this is referred to as sole physical custody. In this case the parent with whom the children reside is referred to as the custodial parent and the other parent is referred to as the non-custodial parent. In other cases if the parents live close to each other and can work out a suitable arrangement both parents can share physical custody of the children. This is referred to as joint physical custody and can take various forms.

Legal Custody: Who makes decisions for the children's health, education and welfare. Normally both parents share this responsibility. This is referred to as joint legal custody. Communication between the parties in making decisions which are in the best interests of the children is essential for joint legal custody to work. If one parent is difficult to contact or if the relationship between the parents is such that they cannot communicate and make timely and effective decisions for the children then the custodial parent may also be given this responsiblity. This is referred to as sole legal custody.