What Does Full Custody Mean? Divorce and Custody Options

If you think your marriage may be heading for divorce, you might want to do some research. What does full custody mean? Learn in this guide.

You’ve made a decision: you’re ending your marriage. But, there’s still more to think about.

The divorce process is no less rough if you have children. There are different divorce and types of custody available, and choosing the best one is easier when you’re informed.

So, what does full custody mean?

Check out this article to learn more about the different options, and find out why it’s in the best interest of your children.

Read on!

What Does Full Custody Mean?

Full custody is a term used to describe legal custody agreements where one parent is appointed as the primary custodial care provider for a minor child. This arrangement grants the custodial parent sole management rights of the child in terms of his or her:

  • healthcare
  • education
  • welfare
  • upbringing

The noncustodial parent typically has the established right to maintain frequent contact with the child. However, the custodial parent still retains ultimate control over decisions concerning the child. It is important to remember that regardless of which parent is the custodial parent, both parents still usually jointly possess legal parental authority over the minor.

Divorce and Custody Options

When considering divorce and navigating the complexities of custody options, it is crucial to be well-versed in the legal landscape. Understanding Washington state child custody laws (or the laws local to you) is essential for parents seeking an amicable resolution that prioritizes the well-being and best interests of the child. Divorce is a challenging process, particularly when children are involved, and determining custody arrangements is a central aspect of this process.

In such sensitive matters, it’s paramount to seek professional guidance. This is where experts like Peters & May specialist divorce lawyers, come into play. Their expertise can provide invaluable support as you navigate the intricacies of custody laws. Child custody laws provide a framework for evaluating different custody options, ranging from sole custody, joint custody, and split custody to innovative approaches like bird’s nest custody and third-person custody. These laws aim to ensure a fair and balanced approach, considering factors such as the child’s health, education, and general welfare. By having a solid grasp of child custody laws, parents can make informed decisions that foster a healthy co-parenting dynamic and prioritize their child’s overall development.

Sole Custody

Sole custody refers to the legal arrangement where only one parent is responsible and has the legal authority to make decisions regarding the care and upbringing of the child involved. It does not necessarily mean that the child will only spend time with one parent.

It simply means that the parent with sole custody has the right to make major decisions related to the child’s:

  • health
  • education
  • religion
  • general welfare

All of these decisions can be made without consulting the other parent.

Joint Custody

Joint custody means that both parents equally share the legal and physical custody of their child(ren). Parents must communicate and work together for the child’s best interest. Joint custody requires parents to make decisions on matters such as their:

  • child’s education
  • religious upbringing
  • health
  • other important matters

They both are expected to be involved in their child’s daily routine, including attending parent/teacher conferences, doctor’s visits, playing with their child, and providing adequate supervision. Joint custody can lead to a better understanding between the parents.  This is because they are forced to work together.

However, it also leads to challenges if they are unable to get along in the process. Furthermore, joint custody offers both parents the opportunity to play an active role in their child’s life.

Split Custody

Split custody is an arrangement in which two or more parents share physical custody of a child. It is different from joint custody, in which both parents share legal and physical custody. In split custody, each parent has primary physical custody of one or more of the minor children.

In a split custody arrangement, one parent has sole care, custody, and control of one or more children. The other parent also has sole care, custody, and control of one or more children. For the parents, the agreement of custody could be voluntary or ordered by a court.

The split custody arrangement enables the parents to spend equal time with their children and makes sure that their children are not emotionally or legally abandoned by either one of the parents. Split custody can help to reduce tension and conflict between the parents resulting from shared custody.

Bird’s Nest Custody

Bird’s Nest Custody is a type of child custody arrangement where the children stay in one house, while the parents rotate in and out rather than the children being shuttled between two households. This arrangement keeps the children in their homes and allows them to remain in their familiar environment, even while living separately from their parents.

They are given stability, familiarity, and continuity of their routines. This of which is achieved through living in one house during the custodial period. It also allows the parents to maintain a healthy relationship with their children while living in separate homes.

With this arrangement, the parents have the flexibility of living independently whilst still providing the children with the emotional support they need. This arrangement has been used in many family court rulings. This is because it keeps the best interests of the children in mind without getting affected by any emotional infidelity that happened while providing a balanced and more neutral atmosphere for the parents.

Third-Person Custody

Third-person custody means when a third party holds custody of a minor child. This could be due to not being able to find agreement between parents. This type of custody arrangement is often used when there is a disagreement between parents about the child’s well-being or the potential danger of abuse.

The third-party custodian holds physical custody of the minor child. However, both parents may still share legal custody. This type of arrangement can occur when:

  • one parent has a history of abuse
  • a parent is found unfit to have custody
  • a parent is incarcerated

The third-party custodian is often a family member or a close friend who the child has a strong relationship with. The goal is always to maximize the child’s well-being and for the custody arrangement to take into consideration any custody agreement between the parents.

Understand Divorce and Custody Options

So, what does full custody mean? Full legal and physical custody is a rare option and one that should only be considered with extensive legal guidance.

If you and your family are considering full custody, seek the advice of a legal professional to help navigate the complexities of each custody option so that your family’s best interests are preserved.

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