Types of Houston Child Custody Arrangements

Photo of Custody PapersWhen you speak with a Houston divorce lawyer about child custody and about your legal rights as a parent, it is best to know what types of custody arrangements are available to you. Once you understand the differences, you will know what you want to ask for in the child custody arrangement; a Houston child custody attorney can better explain these terms as they relate to your situation. There are two main types of Houston child custody arrangements: legal custody and physical custody. Within these categories, there are two options: sole custody and joint custody.

Legal custody

Legal custody refers to the parent’s right to make decisions about the child’s life, which may include religious choices, medical care, education, discipline, and more.

Physical custody

Physical custody refers to the parent’s right to have the child live with him or her. The child will physically live with the parent.

Sole custody

Sole custody refers to the right of one parent to have physical or legal custody of the child. The other parent will not have any physical or legal custody of the child. Sole custody is often awarded when one parent is deemed to be an “unfit parent” according to the court; this determination often stems from child abuse or drug/alcohol dependency.

Sole legal custody refers to awarding only one parent the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing.

Sole physicalcustody allows the child to live with only one parent. The Texas Court may also for visitation rights and set up a visitation schedule for the other parent.

Joint custody

Joint custody refers to both parents having physical and legal custody of the child (or just physical or just legal). Generally speaking, this is the ideal situation for the Court since both parents will have a say in the child’s upbringing. It is not uncommon for two parents to share joint physical custody to also share joint legal custody.

Joint legal custody refers to awarding both parents the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing.

Joint physical custody allows the child to live with both parents. This does not mean that the arrangement is split equally; the Court will often help arrange a schedule, such as every other weekend.

Understanding the different types of custody is the first step in determining what is in your child’s best interest. If you would like more information about how custody arrangements apply to your particular situation, please call a Houston child custody attorney at our law firm today for a consultation.

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