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What forms of child custody could be awarded following a divorce?

One of the unfortunate realities of a divorce is the fact that any children from the marriage will no longer live with both parents at the same time or under the same roof. Hence, we have child custody in different forms to assure that the child still has the opportunity to see both parents.

When determining child custody, the general rule of thumb followed by courts is to always keep the best interests of the child in mind. To do this, depending on various factors, courts may award child custody in a few different forms.

Physical or legal custody is the most commonly awarded form, and means that the child will live with one parent for most of the child's youth. Legal custody means however, that both parents have rights to make decisions about the child's concerns such as education, religion and health care.

Joint custody means that the child spends close to equal time with both parents. This has both good points and bad. While there are benefits to spending equal time with both parents, the child often feels his or her life is in a constant state of flux, without one location to truly call home. Joint custody will only be considered if both parents continue to work well and cooperate with one another.

Split custody may be awarded if there are multiple children from the marriage. In a split custody ruling, one parent takes care of a specific child or children, while the other parent cares for other children from the marriage.

While going through a divorce, it is essential to know and understand all the laws that go into the decision making process concerning child custody. It may be wise to seek professional help to learn your options and determine the best way to proceed.

Source:, "Child Custody Basics," accessed on Sept. 8, 2015

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