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What are the different types of child custody?

When involved in a divorce with children from the marriage, inevitably child custody rights will be discussed and ultimately determined. These decisions made by Missouri courts will undoubtedly follow the "whatever's in the best interest of the child" mantra when rendering its decision. It is important, however, to understand the different types of custody, and the options available to both spouses when discussing and trying to come to an agreement.

Physical custody is one of the most commonly known forms of custody, and involves one parent being granted the right to have the child live with her or him. This is often done when both parents will still live close to one another, enabling the other parent to have regular visitation rights.

Legal custody involves one parent also having the power to make all decision regarding the child. This includes, but is not limited to, the child's upbringing, education and health.

Sole custody is typically awarded if one parent is unfit to care for the child. This may occur when a parent is deemed as either violent or is facing other personal troubles, such as financial woes or substance abuse problems.

Joint custody is a form of shared child custody, where both parents have equal or close to equal time with the child, and make decisions regarding the child together. Joint custody requires that both parents work together and make e equally agreeable decisions together, such as working with each other's schedule to assure that the child spends ample time with each parent.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Paternity Suits FAQ," accessed on April 19, 2016

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