Custody Terminology And How To Get The Best Judgement

Education and good console can be the difference between a favorable judgment in a child custody case. Learn the different terminology to know exactly what your rights include. Also, learn how to proceed with the trial in the most productive way:


When children are involved, determining custody is the most important role of the divorce lawyer. Laws vary by state, but it's important to understand the labels of different custody terms. 

  • Legal v Physical Custody

Legal custody means the authority to make decisions for the child, such as where they will go to school. Other things the parent with legal custody will decide include:

  • religious involvement
  • medical needs (except in the case of an emergency)
  • extracurricular activities
  • travel

Physical custody refers to where the child will physically reside.

  • Sole v Joint Custody

Sole custody refers to one parent having 100% custody of the child.Joint custody refers to both parents sharing custody, and there are several variants of joint custody. A parent can have sole legal custody and joint physical custody. 

  • Reasonable Visitation

When both parties communicate well, sometimes they can have a reasonable visitation order. Reasonable visitation refers to both parties handling the visitation schedule between themselves. 

  • Supervised Visitation

Custody cases can be tricky, and sometimes the court will decide that the child's safety requires one or both parties to be monitored by a professional assigned by the court. Courts use this in cases when one or both of the parents have a past of violence or other potentially dangerous activity.

  • Grandparent Custody

Sometimes, a grandparent insists on taking over responsibility for a child because the parents are not providing a positive environment. This requires extensive proof. 

Getting the Best Custody Order

Your divorce lawyer can only help you as much as you help your lawyer. Follow these simple rules to get the most desirable outcome possible in your custody hearing:

  • Consider Joint Custody

In most situations, it's ideal for the child to have a strong relationship with both parents. Therefore, joint custody may behoove the children the best. Also, judges tend to favor a parent who wants to provide the child with the most access to both parents. Fighting for sole custody can appear punitive to the other parent. 

  • Maintain a Positive Disposition

During this difficult time, it's easy to see how you might want to vent. Doing this in front of your kids can create a bad image in front of the judge. Keep positive and avoid rude commentary. 

  • Learn the Law

Know your rights and learn your options. Use the law for your benefit by hiring a divorce lawyer to guide you through the painful process.  

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