3 Common Child Custody Arrangements

Child custody is one of the most prevalent topics in family law, but for parents who are not engaged in a settlement agreement, this can be a difficult and confusing process. Many people wonder what their rights are in terms of custody and visitation. While there are a great number of legal factors that come into play, there are some universal rules that you’ll find in every state’s law. Understanding these rules can help you to understand your rights, whether you’re a custodial or non-custodial parent. If you and your former partner are no longer on speaking terms, but you have a court date set for a custody hearing, you may wonder what the next step is. In this circumstance, the court will most likely issue a temporary order that makes custodial arrangements until both parties can come to an agreement through mediation or legal mediators.

The judge will decide who will have temporary child custody and which visitation schedule is in place for the child. You and your spouse may be ordered to attend mediation services or to resolve certain issues outside of court. Remember that this may only be a temporary arrangement. In many situations, child custody agreements are reached between the parents themselves. One parent may be granted primary or full custody, while the other parent is given visitation time with the child.

What are the Child Custody Arrangements?

A parent will be ordered to have full custody of his or her children if he or she can provide a secure and stable environment for their children. The custodial parent will be the one who has more time with the children and may have a higher level of responsibility. The non-custodial party, however, may be able to keep his or her position in the family due to simple choices about where the family lives and where the parents live. Having a close relationship with the children can also help you to maintain meaningful visits with them.

Child visitation can be difficult for a parent, especially if he or she is not in close contact with their children after the divorce. It’s not uncommon for parents to want equal custody of the kids, and it’s also common for parents to try to minimize the amount of time they spend with their offspring. The visitation schedule of your children can affect the responsibilities that you have to them, so it’s important to consider the child custody arrangements and how they will affect their lives.

The Three Most Common Child Custody Arrangements:

Most divorces occur due to one of the parents wanting a “divorce”, or the parties involved simply cannot agree on how to raise their children. When this is the case, the court will often rule on child custody and visitation in order to secure the best interests of the children. In most cases, these orders are made by a judge at a custody hearing. There are three primary types of custody arrangements that occur in family courts:

  1. Joint Custody:

Despite the fact that there are three types of custody arrangements, joint custody is the most common. In this case, two parents who share joint custody will make all of the decisions about how to raise their offspring and how to spend their time together. If one parent is granted sole custody, then that parent is responsible for deciding where the children will go and what they will do. If one or both parents are granted joint custody with a significant amount of time in the child’s life, then this can be very beneficial for both children and the parents. In most cases, joint custody is the most desirable outcome for all parties involved in a divorce.

  1. Sole Custody:

This is the type of custody arrangement that is most commonly available in family courts. The parent with sole custody has full authority to make all of the decisions regarding child rearing, including who their children will spend time with and how they will spend their time together. If a parent has sole custody, he or she must also be responsible for paying child support and may be required to pay spousal support as well. If one parent has sole custody, that parent can also be granted visitation time with the children. However, it’s possible that a court may decide to deny access to a non-custodial parent if they are acting as the child’s “foster parent.”

  1. Primary Physical Custody:

This is the most restrictive type of custody arrangement. In this type of custody situation, the parent who has physical custody of the children will have full authority over them, including making all of the decisions about their education and what they do with their time once they are home from school each day. The non-custodial parent is not allowed to see the children in any way and will not have much to do with their upbringing. The parent with primary physical custody will be responsible for all of the financial issues related to their children and the child support that is due to the non-custodial parent. In this case, the custodial parent will have limited time with their children. 

In the event child support is not being paid by the non-custodial parent, it is best to seek a Family Law – Child Custody lawyer to help with your child support needs.


Child custody arrangements and visitation schedules can be important for everyone involved in a divorce. If you’re currently involved in this type of situation, it’s important to understand the child custody guidelines in your state so that you’re on the right path. Also, if you’re involved in a divorce that is less amicable than others, it’s important to talk with an attorney who understands your state’s child custody laws so that you can have a better understanding of your rights and obligations.

Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

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