Joint vs Shared. Sole vs Full. While often used interchangeably, each has a very specific meaning under Louisiana Law!

Custody terms are often misunderstood.

The care and decision-making concerns of children are at stake in a divorce or child custody case. It's important that everyone is on the same page in knowing what these terms mean.

What are the Different Types of Child Custody?

Legal custody, whether it is held by one parent or shared by both parents, gives a parent the right to make decisions about the child's upbringing, such as schooling, health care, and other significant decisions.

Physical custody, whether it is held by one parent or shared by both parents, refers to the physical legal care of the child and where the child resides.

What is Sole Custody?

Sole Custody means one parent has the sole legal care and decision-making ability for a child.

Sole custody is rare and is usually limited to situations where one parent is unfit or incapable of having any form of responsibility for a child -- for example, due to drug addiction or evidence of child abuse.

With sole custody, the other parent may have periods of visitation.

What is Joint Custody?

Joint Custody means both parents share the care and decision-making ability for a child. Both parents have periods of physical custody, but one may have more physical custody time than the other.

Joint custody is preferred in Louisiana. Joint custody provides both parents with control over decisions regarding their child's upbringing.

Even if one parent has more actual physical custody of a child than the other, the custody is likely joint, with each parent able to exercise parental rights during their periods of custody (not visitation).

What is Shared Custody?

Shared Custody means both parents share physical custody equally.

Shared Custody aims to give both parents the same amount of physical time with the child and is also commonly referred to as 50/50 custody.

Shared Custody is a very specific type of Joint Custody.

If you are going through a divorce or have questions about your custody agreement, give our child custody lawyers a call at 985-240-9773.

Lucy Killen
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