What is the difference between sole custody and full custody?

When parents separate or divorce, they need to decide how to share the responsibility and care of their children.

This is called child custody, and it can be arranged in different ways depending on the best interests of the child and the parents’ situation.

Two common types of child custody are sole custody and full custody, but they are not the same.

Child custody and how it works
How child custody works in California
| California Courts

In this article, we will explain the difference between sole custody and full custody, and how they affect the rights and obligations of the parents and the child.

also read :What are Parental Rights? What They Are and How to Exercise Them

What is sole custody?

Sole custody is when one parent has the exclusive authority and responsibility for the child’s physical and legal well-being.

Physical custody refers to where the child lives and who provides the daily care.

Legal custody refers to who makes the important decisions about the child’s education, health, religion, and other matters.

A parent with sole custody has both physical and legal custody, and does not need to consult the other parent about any aspect of the child’s life.

The other parent, who does not have custody, is usually granted visitation rights, which means they can see and spend time with the child according to a schedule.

However, in some cases, the court may deny visitation rights to the non-custodial parent if there is evidence of abuse, neglect, or harm to the child.

The non-custodial parent may also have to pay child support to the custodial parent to help with the child’s expenses.

Sole custody is often awarded to the mother, especially if the child is young or has a close bond with her.

However, sole custody can also be awarded to the father, or to a third party, such as a grandparent or a guardian, if the court finds that it is in the best interests of the child.

What is full custody?

Full custody is when one parent has primary physical and legal custody of the child, but the other parent still has some rights and responsibilities towards the child.

Full custody is similar to sole custody, but it is not as extreme.

The parent with full custody has the final say in the child’s upbringing, but they have to inform and involve the other parent in some matters.

The other parent, who does not have full custody, still has visitation rights, and may also have some input in the child’s education, health, or religion.

The non-full custody parent may also have to pay child support to the full custody parent.

Full custody can be awarded to either parent, depending on the circumstances and the best interests of the child.

Full custody is often awarded to the father, especially if the mother is unfit, unavailable, or unwilling to care for the child.

However, full custody can also be awarded to the mother, or to a third party, if the court finds that it is in the best interests of the child.

Is full custody the same as joint custody?

No, full custody is not the same as joint custody. Joint custody is when both parents share physical and legal custody of the child.

This means that the child lives with both parents according to a schedule, and both parents have equal rights and responsibilities in the child’s upbringing.

Joint custody requires a high level of cooperation and communication between the parents, and it is usually preferred by the court if it is possible and beneficial for the child.

Does sole custody terminate parental rights?

No, sole custody does not terminate parental rights.

Parental rights are the legal rights and obligations that a parent has towards their child, such as the right to see, contact, and support the child, and the duty to protect, care, and provide for the child.

Parental rights can only be terminated by a court order, which is a very serious and permanent decision.

A parent who loses their parental rights loses all their rights and responsibilities towards the child, and the child loses their legal connection to the parent.

Parental rights can be terminated for various reasons, such as abuse, abandonment, or adoption.

Sole custody and full custody: Which is better?

There is no simple answer to which type of custody is better, as it depends on the individual situation and the best interests of the child.

Both sole custody and full custody have advantages and disadvantages, and they affect the child and the parents in different ways.

Some factors that may influence the choice of custody include:

  • Age, needs, and preferences of the child
  • The relationship and attachment of the child to each parent
  • Ability and availability of each parent to care for the child
  • The cooperation and communication between the parents
  • Location and distance of the parents
  • The impact of the custody arrangement on the child’s stability, continuity, and development

The best way to decide which type of custody is better is to consult a family law attorney, who can advise you on your rights and options, and help you negotiate or litigate a custody agreement that works for you and your child.

Conclusion

Sole custody and full custody are two types of child custody arrangements that parents can choose when they separate or divorce.

Sole custody gives one parent exclusive authority and responsibility for the child’s physical and legal well-being, while full custody gives one parent primary authority and responsibility, but still involves the other parent in some matters.

Both types of custody have advantages and disadvantages, and they affect the child and the parents in different ways.

The best type of custody depends on the individual situation and the best interests of the child, and it can be determined by consulting a family law attorney.

 

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