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What’s the difference between joint and sole custody?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2021 | Child Custody

Texas parents going through a divorce will naturally have many questions about custody arrangements. When deciding custody, there are several different types that the court has to pick from.

Types of custody

Parents may share joint custody or petition the court for sole custody. Joint custody is when the children split their time roughly 50/50 between the parents, and both parents have an equal say as to how the child is raised.

Sole custody is where the child lives primarily with one parent. Sole custody might also mean that the parent the child lives with will make the majority of decisions in regards to raising the child.

When does the court decide on joint custody?

Joint custody can come in two different forms: joint legal custody and joint physical custody. Joint legal custody means that both parents have equal say in regards to schooling, religion, medical care, and other things as they come up. Joint physical custody means the child spends an equal amount of time between the two parents’ houses.

Most courts of law will award joint legal custody even if one parent has sole physical custody. Joint custody is often awarded when both parents are equally capable of taking care of the child and it’s in the best interest of the child to have both parents in that position.

When is sole custody decided?

Sole legal custody means that one parent gets the final say on all legal, school, medical and religious decisions relating to the children. Sole legal custody isn’t granted lightly; it must be proven that sole custody is in the best interest of the child. This usually happens when it’s believed one parent isn’t in the position to be making decisions for the child’s welfare.

The goal of any family court decision is to ensure the child’s well-being in both the short and long term. It’s up to the parents and the court of law to determine what sort of custody arrangement would be in the best interest of the child.