Joint Custody

If you are in a custody dispute, you may hear many terms such as legal custody, physical custody, sole custody, joint custody, primary custody, and secondary custody used and it can be quite confusing to understand what they all mean.

Joint custody is a type of physical custody of a child and refers to a shared physical custody arrangement of the child. However it is important to understand that the arrangement while it may be called joint is whatever the order says that it is. For example, an order may say that the parties shall have joint custody of the minor child, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be equal time with each parent, it may mean that one parent has primary custody and the other has secondary custody in the form of visitation, it may mean that each parent has equal or relatively equal custody, such as “week on, week off” custody, or some other custody arrangement that includes both parents having some amount of time with the child on a regular basis. Since all of these scenarios can be included within the term “joint custody” it is very important that the child custody order or parenting agreement define exactly what that custody arrangement is going to be.

While the terms used in a custody order or parenting agreement may be confusing, it is important to keep in mind that these terms are really going to be defined by the details of your order or parenting agreement and don’t always mean the same thing in every situation