What Is the Difference between Sole and Joint Custody?

Posted on Mar 26, 2010 by Hofheimer Family Law

If you are facing a child custody hearing in Virginia, you may have lots of questions about the possible outcome. You are probably somewhat familiar with the differences between sole (or, primary) and joint custody. However, what these mean is not always so clear-cut.

Sole vs. Joint Custody in a Child Custody Hearing in Virginia

Sole custody can be a confusing term. This is because there are two types of custody that can be decided upon. One is legal custody wherein a parent has the authority to make decisions concerning their child. These decisions relate to issues such as education, serious medical care or the child’s physical location. The other type of custody is physical custody where a determination is made on how a parent shares time with the child and with whom the child will live.

There are also different kinds of scenarios that can be decided on in a sole custody situation. A parent can have both legal and physical custody of a child, which means the child lives with one parent and the other parent has no legal weight in any decisions concerning the child.

Another scenario that can be decided upon is that one parent has sole legal custody of a child but both parents have joint physical custody. Although both parents will spend time with the child, only one makes the major decisions in the child’s life. These are just a couple of scenarios that can occur in a Virginia child custody decision.

True joint physical custody means splitting the time with a child 50/50; however, as stated, there are different scenarios that can result from a decision depending on legal and physical custody.

To learn more about child custody hearings in Virginia, visit our library.

We understand that the health and happiness of your child is your #1 concern and we will work with you to address any fears and anxieties that you may have about your child’s future. Our women’s divorce attorneys will work with you every step of the way to ensure that you achieve the best possible child custody and child support arrangements for you and your children. Contact us today to schedule a legal consultation – (757) 425-5200.