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There are three main types of physical and legal custody arrangements in child custody orders: Sole custody, primary custody, and joint custody.  Physical custody obviously addresses the actual physical location of the minor child.  Legal Custody address decision making rights in relation to the minor child.

Sole custody arrangements usually involve one parent having 100% of the physical time with the minor child and 100% decision making authority.  Parents have a strong constitutionally protected right to time with their biological children, so a court will not normally enter a sole custody order without findings of unfitness in regards to the non-custodial parent.

Primary physical custody involves one parent having the majority of the time with the minor child, with the other parent having a lesser amount of time, often every other weekend.  Primary legal custody gives one parent final decision making authority but may require that parent to consult with the other parent and make an attempt to reach agreement on major decisions.

Joint physical custody involves the splitting sharing time with the minor child more equally but not necessarily 50/50.  Joint legal custody gives the parents equal decision making authority but may often give on parent the tie-breaker or refer the parties to mediation in the event of a deadlock on a decision.

For more, view our full blog on the topic of common physical and legal child custody arrangements.

Posted by:

Bill Hunter
Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC