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Different types of child custody arrangements

Florida residents may have heard of the term custody and have a general idea of what the concept means, but they are not aware that custody itself has many different aspects and has an impact on decision making.

When people refer to custody, they may be referring to physical custody which is the most common of custody. When a parent has been given physical custody of a child, this means that that parent has the right to have the child live with them. Sole physical custody is when the child lives primarily with one parent and the other parent only has visitation rights. Joint custody is possible when both parents are living relatively close together, so it doesn't strain one parent in transport costs.

Legal custody is yet another award. This refers to the power of making decisions regarding the child's wellbeing and includes issues such as education, religion and health. Therefore, the parent with legal custody has the power to make decisions such as where to send the child to school and medical care the child will receive. Generally, states award joint legal custody, which means that both parents will be responsible for making decisions regarding the child's upbringing. When joint legal custody has been granted and one parent takes decision making power away from the other, one parent may have legal recourse by going to court and getting the order enforced.

Though generally courts are trending towards granting joint custody, whether it is physical or legal, there are certain instances in which the court can end up giving sole custody to one parent. This is when one parent is found unfit to be a parent for various reasons.

Child custody arrangements are contentious arrangements, as everyone wants what is in their children's best interests but at the same time, not willing to admit that one plan may be better than another. An experienced attorney may be able to help divorcing couples create a child custody arrangement that works for all parties involved.

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