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What are the different kinds of child custody arrangements?

In any divorce or separation proceeding where children are involved, the issue of child custody very often becomes one of the biggest points of contention between the parties. Sometimes the two sides can agree on a parenting plan, but other times the assistance of a mediator or judge is required. This blog post will provide a brief summary of some of the different kinds of child custody. As always, legal help should be sought for more specific inquiries.

When most people think of child custody, they are thinking of physical custody. Physical custody deals with the issue of where the child will live. When a parent is awarded physical custody of a child, the parent has won the legal right to have that child stay with that parent. In many cases, one parent will be awarded physical custody of the child. In this scenario, the other parent is usually awarded parenting time. In other cases, each parent will have the right to have the child live with them part of the time. This arrangement is called joint physical custody.

Another kind of child custody is called legal custody. A parent with legal custody of a child has the right to make various decisions regarding the child's upbringing. These can include deciding what school the child will go to, which religion the child will be brought up in and what kind of medical care the child will receive. In many cases, the parents will be awarded joint legal custody even if only one of them has physical custody. In this case, one parent is not allowed to make unilateral decisions about the child's upbringing without the input of the other parent.

In many cases, a child custody arrangement will be handled fairly smoothly with minimal strife between the parties. In some cases, however, there may be serious disagreement both before and after the parenting plan is approved. Legal options exist for parents in Colorado who are in this situation.

Source: FindLaw, "The Various Types of Child Custody," accessed on June 5, 2016

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