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Father and son having fun while shaving in bathroom

Arguably one of the most tense parts about divorce proceedings for parents is when it comes time to decide child custody. The court will determine what is in the child’s best interests when deciding what form of custody it should take. Though there are several forms of custody, the two main ones often referred to for divorcing couples are sole and shared custody. While the names themselves might be self-explanatory, it’s important that you have a full understanding of what makes the two different. This article provides a helpful guide to understanding the differences between sole and shared custody.

Living Conditions

Shared custody often means that both parents will retain custody of their children during certain parts of the month. The court can arrange it to equitable amounts of time or give one parent far more custody time than the other. Typically they will base their choice off of specific parental circumstances such as careers, income, assets, home locations, and the child’s personal preferences. Since they want the child to have as easy a time as possible adjusting after the divorce, they will try to give a greater share of custody to the parent that wouldn’t alter the child’s lifestyle that much.

Sole custody means that only one parent will have full custody over the child. It doesn’t mean that the other parent is devoid of visitation rights or that the child can’t go to their place for a couple of days during the year, it just means that one parent offers a more convenient lifestyle for the child than the other. 

Who Gets a Say?

Mother and DaughterThere is also the issue of legal custody, which determines who of the parents has a direct say in making decisions for the child. For a parent that has sole custody over their child, this isn’t too much of a problem. The court usually allows these parents full physical and legal custody of the child.

For parents with shared custody, it can be a little more complex. While courts usually try to give these parents equal legal custody, they can still step in and determine who has gets the final say in case a conflict arises between the two parents.

The Child’s Adjustment

As mentioned earlier, the court aims to make the transition after the divorce as easy as they can for the child. The amount of time the child gets to spend with each parent plays a large role in how well they take the separation. This is why most courts try to aim for shared custody over sole custody, because having shared custody means seeing both parents at a fair rate. If a parent has sole custody, then the child may not spend as much time with the noncustodial parent as they want to and will have a harder time adapting.

If you worry about how much time you will spend with your child after a separation, the best divorce lawyer in San Antonio, TX, can help. If you have questions regarding child custody, contact the Law Offices of Steven C. Benke today.

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