Types of Custody

Understanding The Two Types Of Custody

Child custody is not as simple as just deciding where the children will live. It involves virtually all dimensions of their lives. In Indiana, there are two types of custody:

  • Physical custody relates to where the children reside most of the time
  • Legal custody refers to the parents’ decision-making authority

At Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm P.C. in Terre Haute, we can help you pursue a custody arrangement that’s right for your family. You can rely on our lawyers for detailed guidance on all aspects of custody. Learn more by scheduling a free initial consultation.

Physical Custody

Physical custody can be joint, partial or sole:

  • Under a joint custody arrangement, the children live with each parent for an equal amount of time.
  • Children in a partial custody arrangement live with one parent more than the other, but still spend time with both.
  • In a sole custody arrangement, the children live with one parent 100 percent of the time, but may still have visitation with the other parent.

For most families, a partial custody arrangement makes the most sense. It can be difficult to maintain a 50-50 split in physical custody due to work schedules, school schedules and geographical restraints.

Legal Custody

Raising children involves much more than providing a place for them to live. As parents, you will confront major decisions in virtually all aspects of their lives. Legal custody involves the authority of each parent to make important decisions regarding the children’s education, medical treatment, discipline, religion and more.

Indiana law recognizes that it is usually in the children’s best interests for both parents to have a voice in how they are raised. However, a shared legal custody arrangement is only possible if both parents can agree on basic principles of child rearing. For instance, if one parent insists that the children be raised in a particular faith, but the other parent demands with equal insistence that the children adhere to a different faith, it may be impossible to establish common ground for shared joint legal custody.

Finding An Arrangement That Makes Sense For You

Under the best circumstances, parents are able to mutually agree on what arrangement will work best. If that’s not possible, the family court judge will become involved in making the decision.