Sole Child Custody Vs Joint Custody

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Divorce is a hard thing to go through and it’s not only for the couple involved but for the children as well. There are a lot of things like talks of custody, shared parenting, and visitation rights that can be very hard for minor children to come to terms with. Make the process easier with by working with a child custody lawyer. Here is everything you need to know about shared and sole custody of children.

Sole Child Custody

Sole child custody, as the name suggests, is a type of legal custody of a child, when the parents are separated and only one of them is financially able to support the means of a child. This involves school, medical expenses (if any), food, well-being, and other miscellaneous things.

Only One Parent Makes Decisions For The Child

In sole custody cases, there is only one parent, who is the decision-making figure in the child’s life. This decision, on who could be the main parental figure in the child’s life, is decided by the court based on both of the parents’ financial, physical, and emotional state.

The court wants the best for the child, so they evaluate things like finances and even the jobs of the parents to ensure that the child can live comfortably for a long time.

A Visitation Schedule Is Set For The Non-Custodial Parent

The parent, who doesn’t have sole custody of the child, is allowed to visit the child from time to time and that’s decided on the basis of visitation rights. Both of the parents can come up with a schedule that can work for both of them and they can let the other parent spend time with the child.

At the end of the visitation time, the child is bound by law to go back to the custody holding parent, otherwise, it can turn into a conflict and that behavior can be tried in court, especially if there’s a huge history of ill will in the relationship of the couple.

It Can Take A Toll On The Child

As far as changes in the child’s life is concerned, this type of custody isn’t recommended because a child is used to having both of the parents around and suddenly all of that changes, and that can put a huge toll on the overall well-being of the child.

But there are cases in which only this type of custody is possible, like in case of separation during pregnancy, the mother being the lone parent of the child, etc., and in these cases, the sole custody is granted to the mother of the child, no matter what the situation is.

Sole Custody Can Be Hard For Both Parents

Sole custody can also be hard on the parents as well. For the custodial parent, it can be hard, because now they have a child to take care of and they’re also juggling other things in life like jobs, the divorce proceedings, getting back on track, etc. The parent holding the sole custody of the child is also responsible for the child’s finances and no one can help them out in this regard and that’s quite mentally draining.

As for the parent who doesn’t have custody of the child, it’s just as hard. No one wants to get to meet their child for a couple of hours on designated days because that’s just heartbreaking and very sad. That’s why many parents hire family lawyers Fairfax VA and battle for sole child custody.

Good For The Child’s Security

On the flipside, however, sole custody is a great option to go for, if you’re scared about your child’s security. A lot of the time, there are cases of abuse and neglect, by one parent, in the child’s life and the other parent has no choice, but to divorce their partner and apply for sole custody, to ensure that things like that never happen again.

This can be quite scary and the only way out is to get out of this relationship and get your child to safety. This can be hard for people because it’s a huge lifestyle change, but there’s also a sense of relief, that you and your child are in good hands now and safe from any danger.

Joint Child Custody

Joint child custody is a type of custody in which both parents are still involved in their child’s life even after being separated or divorced. This is a type of custody in which both parents are worried about how the child will settle and they come to terms with each other amicably on how to co-parent for the betterment of their child.

This is a great way to raise your child because there is still a presence of a mother and father figure in their life and they can live their life with little to no changes in it.

Both Parents Can Make Decisions For The Child

Joint child custody is very similar to having visitation rights for your child but a bit different and longer. There is an involvement of both parents in the major decisions of the child’s life like the choice of schooling, any important medical decision, and more.

Works Well When Both Parents Are On Good Terms With Each Other After Divorce

Joint child custody is great to opt for if you and your partner are still on good terms after the divorce and they can be around the child and each other, without feeling bitter or resentful. However, that’s not always the case.

There can be times when the partners are not on good terms and they don’t want to be around each other or have a presence in front of their child, so it can turn quite messy and it can affect the child adversely as well.

Child Expenses Are Also Split Between Parents

The financial part of joint child custody also works very differently from other custody cases. There is not exactly a 50/50 split between the parents, but it’s more like, whichever parent spends more time with the child and is more involved in their life, then they will also cover the major chunk of the expenses for the child.

Of course, all of these settlements can be made outside of court given that both parties are willing to cooperate and come to a decision that’s not only doable but better for them and their child, alike.

Only Good For Parents Who Live Nearby

Joint child custody can also be hard to deal with, especially if both parents live far away from each other. There is time to commute, the expense, and the actual time spent with the child, that needs to be considered.

Joint child custody is better for parents who live close to each other so that not a lot of time is wasted trying to reach their child and they can actually make the most of the visiting time.


There is not a general rule that one type of custody is better than the other. That decision solely depends on the parents and what conclusion they come to while keeping in mind the life of their child and how the separation and custody are going to affect him/her in the future. Communication and productive conversations between the parents is the most important thing to do if you want things to go smoothly, not only in your life but your child’s life as well. These changes are going to make things easier for everyone involved.

There are different merits and demerits of both types of child custody and you really need to evaluate your situation, as a whole, to figure out which kind of custody would be the best for you and the children involved. Take the advice of your child custody attorney Fairfax VA and your relationship with the ex-spouse into account.

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