Here’s how it works

There are two primary components of custody: legal and physical custody.

Legal custody gives parents the authority to make major decisions in the child’s life. These decisions include medical, schooling, and religious choices, and generally does not include day-to-day decisions.

Physical custody refers to how a child shares time between parents. Generally, the parent where the child primarily lives will have primary custody. The noncustodial parent has parenting time.

Custody, both legal and physical, can be granted solely to one parent or jointly between both parents. Custody is granted based on what is in the child’s best interest rather than what is fair and just to each parent. There are at least 21 factors that the court must consider when determining the best interest of a child.

Sole legal custody gives one parent the exclusive authority to make major decisions on behalf of the child. Joint legal custody gives both parents equal decision-making authority.

Sole physical custody means that a child exclusively lives with one parent. More common is shared physical custody where the child spends time with both parents.

To maximize time with your children, hire a qualified child custody attorney to represent you. Schedule a free consultation today to explore your options.

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Often, sole custody isn’t awarded through the courts unless the other parent is deemed unfit. Situations like neglect, alcohol, or drug dependency may deem a parent unsuitable for joint custody situations. It’s important to remember that sole custody doesn’t mean the other parent can’t receive visitation. Even with a sole custody arrangement, the noncustodial parent may enjoy a generous child visitation schedule.

Joint custody may include physical or legal custody. Joint legal custody means that parents are able to mutually make major decisions together for the benefit of their minor children. Joint or shared physical custody means that the children share significant time with each parent.

Joint physical custody arrangements may include alternating weeks between each parent’s home, along with independent schedules for weekends, holidays, and summer break. Joint custody aims to have contact and involvement for both parents in the child’s life.

Child support is financial assistance to cover food, shelter, and necessary items relating to the child. Generally, the court awards support in monthly installments to the parent with primary custody. Although independent agreements can be made, child support is primarily calculated based on how much time the children share with each parent, each parent’s income, the costs of work-related childcare expenses, health insurance premiums including vision and dental, and other expenses related to the children.


Your legal team at Blattner Family Law Group will fight for a fair custody agreement with a goal of maximizing your time with the most important people in your life.


Custody can be sole or joint.

Sole custody is when physical or legal custody is granted to one parent. Joint custody is when parents have equal opportunity in decision making and when children spend significant time with each parent.


Parenting arrangements include legal and physical components.

Legal custody refers to major decision-making for the child. Physical custody refers to the time spent with each parent.


Visitation must be fair to both parents with a reasonable schedule.

Parenting time should include a reasonable schedule that is best for the children.

Both parents must communicate and co-parent in the best interests of the child.


Spending quality time with your children is crucial for healthy relationships. Figuring out a plan for both parents isn’t always easy. We’re experts in advocating for our clients through firm and fair negotiations.

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