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Joint vs. Sole Child Custody

By Henry F. Lewis on October 26, 2017

Child between parentsWhen people get married, the intention is to be together until “death do us part.” However, statistics show that is not always the case. Whether due to lifestyle changes, growing apart, or issues such as infidelity, divorces are a common part of American culture.

A divorce lawyer oversees all aspects of a divorce to ensure a fair and reasonable settlement for clients. One of the most difficult aspects of a divorce for those with children is child custody. At Gardner & Lewis, LLP, our attorneys are experienced in family law. Here, we discuss the differences regarding joint vs. sole child custody so that our Oakland, CA clients can come to a custody agreement that is most beneficial for the unique needs of their family, especially the children.

Sole vs. Joint Custody

The term “sole” custody can be a little misleading when it comes to distinguishing between sole vs. joint custody. Although it may sound like sole custody cuts one parent out of a child’s life completely, that is not usually the case. Sole custody means that one parent is solely responsible for legal decisions, and/or is the primary guardian for a child. With joint custody, both parents share in making legal decisions for the child (or children) and may also share jointly in spending time with the child and residing with the child.

To best understand the differences between sole vs. joint custody, it is best to consider the two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal and physical custody differ greatly, and it is possible for parents to have joint legal custody, but for one parent to have sole physical custody, or vice versa. Below is a brief explanation of the two types of custody:

  • Legal custody: Legal custody describes who is responsible for making important decisions in a child’s life. These decisions typically pertain to education, medical treatment, religion, and housing. If a parent has sole legal custody, he or she is allowed to make these decisions. In cases of joint legal custody, the parents must come together to make these decisions.
  • Physical custody: Physical custody refers to how much time is spent with a child and where the child will live on a regular basis. Joint physical custody splits time equally between the parents, so that the child lives at each parent’s home part of the time. Sole physical custody means that the child lives primarily with one parent. Even if a parent has sole physical custody of the child, the other parent still has a right to visitation, which may include spending some weekends or holidays at the other parent’s house.

Establishing Custody

Divorces can get emotional, especially when they involve custody issues. It is best to work with an experienced divorce lawyer, such as those at Gardner & Lewis, LLP, to ensure that your best interests, and those of your child, are taken into consideration throughout divorce proceedings.

Our attorneys will work to ensure that custody issues are favorable for the children involved. However, we will try to do so as amicably as possible so that families can move forward with minimal conflict or tension. The experience and professionalism of our legal team can make all the difference in establishing fair and reasonable custody guidelines.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are considering a divorce and have concerns about reaching a reasonable custody agreement, the attorneys at Gardner & Lewis, LLP can help. Schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience to learn more about your custody options.

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The needs of your family are always at the forefront of our legal services. Whether through litigation or mediation, we believe that reaching a fair, efficient solution with minimal negative impact to your family is of the utmost importance. Henry F. Lewis

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Oakland Office

1939 Harrison St
Ste 210
Oakland, CA 94612

More Info Directions (510) 451-4822