Understanding Types of Child Custody in a New York Divorce Case

By The Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC on December 10, 2014

When you are considering divorce in New York and you have young children, one of your top concerns is how to navigate the separation in a way that minimizes the impact on your kids. Although children can survive divorce in a healthy way, much of their future will depend on how you handle custody and support decisions.

To make the best choices for yourself and your children, you need plenty of information on child custody in New York, including an understanding of the types of child custody. Your experienced Long Island custody and family law attorney can also answer any specific questions you have.

Typically speaking, you will encounter four “types” of custody in a divorce situation: legal, physical, joint, and sole custody.

Having legal custody of a child gives you the responsibility to make major decisions about the child’s health, well-being, and upbringing. Legal custody involves questions like how the child’s medical needs will be handled, where the child will go to school, and what religious training, if any, the child will have. Parents may share legal custody.

Physical custody describes which parent has the child live with him or her. Often, one parent has legal custody, while the other has “visitation” including weekends and holidays with the child. Parents may share physical custody, or one parent may have physical custody while both share legal custody.

When parents share physical or legal custody, the arrangement is typically known as “joint” or “shared” custody. Joint custody arrangements may share these responsibilities equally, or they may be arranged in some other way. By contrast, when one parent has all the physical and legal custody of a child, the arrangement is known as “sole” custody.

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