What is full custody?
When you get a divorce or have a child outside marriage, one of the most important decisions you, or a judge, will make is who retains custody of your child. State law and the child’s best interest play a key role in a judge’s custody decision.
In most cases, courts try to give both parents opportunities to spend time with their children. However, in rare cases, you may receive full custody. This is what you should know about child custody.
Types of custody
There are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody determines who has the right to make major decisions about your children. These decisions include where they will attend school or their medical care. Physical custody distinguishes where the children live and who cares for their physical needs.
If you receive full custody, you are solely responsible for all the legal and physical needs of your child. You determine where they go to school, what medical treatment they receive, provide their home and raise them. You may still receive child support, and your co-parent may have visitation rights.
Determinants of full custody
Courts avoid full custody decisions as much as possible. However, if one parent is unable to care for the child, such as if they have a disability or debilitating injury, you may receive full custody. Unfit determinations, incarceration or other criminal history or a history of abuse or neglect may also impact custody decisions.
Sole custody differs from full custody in that a judge does not typically allow visitation of the noncustodial parent in sole custody cases. If you receive full custody, your co-parent may have visitation rights.