There are two types of custody; legal and physical.
1. Legal Custody
A court’s determination of which parent or relative should have responsibility for a minor (child) under 18. The individual that possesses legal custody of a minor can make decisions concerning the child’s health, education, safety, and welfare.
A) Sole legal custody is granted to the exclusion of the other parent, and in fact requires further court order to reverse, generally speaking.
B) Joint legal custody is when both parents work together in making decisions for the child, and have a say in the major life decisions of the child. Parentage is not necessarily determined by biological factors.
2. Physical Custody
Physical custody, in theory, is equally divided between the parents. This is not often the case. The Court will order visitation based upon the best interest of the child, and that may or may not comport with the wishes of the parents. The Court may be bound to follow county mediators to arrive at a visitation schedule.
A) Visitation: Courts may a relaxed visitation schedule, or they may order a very specific and detailed schedule. They may also grant or deny supervised visitation, especially where allegations of domestic abuse or drug issues exist. Supervised visitation may be with relatives, agreed-upon third parties, or by agency.
B) No Visitation: Usually, the Court will always try to keep the parents involved in the child’s life unless there are situations in which the child will be emotionally or physically harmed. In these situations the court will state that the parent is not allowed to have visitation with the child. Restoring visitation rights can be an expensive legal quagmire.