The type of child custody is solely decided by the court. The court examines various factors before determining the type of custody. While announcing the judgment, the child’s interest is considered first. The factors that affect the child custody are family dynamics, relationships, distances, living conditions etc. When all these favor the child, joint custody may be awarded. But, in case all these factors do not meet up, legal and physical custody of the child is given to the most deserving parent or to both.
Let us first understand what legal custody means. When a parent is given legal custody of a child, he or she has the right to effectively participate in the long-term decision making. These could begin with the child’s education to his or her medical requirements, religious upbringing and extra curricular activities. In general, the judge mostly awards legal custody to both parents unless either of them is proved completely unfit in carrying out such a responsibility due to mental incapacitation.
The next type of child custody is physical custody. This implies that where the child will physically stay. In a situation, where the judge gives the physical custody to one of the parents, then that parent is responsible for keeping the child with him or her and looking after the basic and every day needs of the child. Most often the judge gives physical custody to one of the parents, and the other one is allowed a physical visitation right to see and meet the child as per the decision of the court.
There is one more type of custody termed as sole custody where the entire legal and physical responsibility lies with a single parent. This generally happens when one of the parents has been found completely unfit due to history of child abuse, drug addiction and unstable mental condition. Yet another type of custody which is quite common is the joint custody where each parent is given equal share of legal as well as physical responsibility of the child.
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