There is more behind the words child custody than meets the eye

When a relationship between parents is no longer viable, it becomes necessary to determine what living arrangements will best suit the children involved. However, there is more behind the term child custody than meets the eye. Colorado residents who are going through a divorce may benefit from an overview of the various types of custody.

The two terms that are used most frequently are physical and legal custody. Physical refers to with whom the children live primarily. In many cases a court will award parents joint physical custody, which means the children will divide time between the homes of their parents. Legal custody refers to the right to make life decisions for a child. Once again, the courts will often award joint legal custody so that parents will share these important decisions for their children.

Sole physical custody used to be the rule but is not as common now. However, in situations where a parent may not be able to care for their children in an appropriate manner or when the parents live far apart, then a court may make this ruling. Even in these circumstances, a judge may attempt to provide as much time for the non-custodial parent to spend with his or her children as possible and may still award joint legal custody.

Courts can award various types of joint custody. In the case of younger children, parents may elect in a parenting plan to have the children remain in their home and the parents will rotate in and out. There are as many correct child custody plans as there are families. Every situation is unique and deserves individual consideration in order to ensure that children are provided for in the manner that will allow them to achieve both physical and emotional well-being. Colorado families who find themselves unable to reach a workable compromise may seek the input of a family law attorney.


FindLaw, “The Various Types of Child Custody“, Accessed on July 5, 2017

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