Family Law-Information about Custody and Access

There are several types of Custody and Access arrangements:

  

  • Joint Custody--Joint  Custody is the type of custody that parents share when they live  together.  If a parent leaves a child with the other parent, his/her  right to custody is suspended but not his/her right to access.   Increasingly, the Courts have been ordering joint custody to both  parents, even if they do not get along.  Typically the child would  reside primarily with one parent and have alternate weekends with the  other parent, who would typically pay child support based on the Child  Support Guidelines.
  • Shared Custody--This  is a type of Joint Custody whereby the parents "share" the child,  typically, but not always on a 50%-50% basis.  Parents often do not pay  child support in this type of arrangement, particularly if they earn  similar incomes.  Typically, if the parents do not earn similar incomes,  the higher paid parent would pay the difference between what each  parent would pay if the child were residing primarily with the other  parent.
  • Split Custody--This  is a type of Custody where the children are "split" with one or more  children living with one parent, and one or more children living with  the other parent.  Typically, you see this situation when the children  are older and have their own preferences regarding which parent the  child would like to reside with.
  • Sole Custody--This  is the traditional type of arrangement where one parent has custody of  the child or children and the other parent has access, typically on  alternate weekends.  Typically, the custodial parent makes most of the  major decisions and is paid child support based on the Child Support  Guidelines.

 Custody is an evolving area of Law and increasingly the Courts try to  create a regime where both parents can be actively involved in their  children's lives. It is important to remember that an early  Status Quo can effect the outcome of a custody case.  It is best to  obtain legal advice prior to leaving the family home.