One of the central issues in many divorce proceedings is the idea of child custody. This term is used to describe both the legal and practical relationship between a parent and child following any kind of legal separation between the parents or guardians. While the state laws that surround child custody will vary slightly from place to place, the main standard by which courts operate is the best interests of the child. The child’s needs and preferences will always be placed above the desires of the parent. Even though there are multiple types of arrangements that might take place, the two major options are joint custody and full custody. It is important for everyone to know what is meant by full custody.
An Overview of Full Custody
If a parent is awarded full custody, this means that they are the primary custodial parent of the child. This means that the parent is going to have legal rights over the child and will spend the majority of the time with that child. This is different from joint custody, which usually refers to an arrangement where the parents split time with the child.
In full custody, one parent is going to assume all of the responsibilities when it comes to raising and caring for that child. Some of the reasons why full child custody might be granted to a single parent include:
- The other parent has a history of neglect or abuse when it comes to that child
- The other parent has a negative criminal record or has been incarcerated
- The other parent has become incapacitated, is ill, or has been disabled
- The court deems that the other parent is unfit to raise a child
- The other parent voluntarily surrenders parental rights
If one parent is awarded full custody, they are the only individual given physical and legal custody. If a parent has legal custody, this adult has the rights and duties to make decisions when it comes to the upbringing of the child. Some of the factors included are:
- How the child will be educated
- How the child will be disciplined
- Any medical care the child needs
- Religious instruction for the child
- Where the child is going to spend the majority of his or her time
What This Means for the Other Parent
Full custody does not mean that the other parent is not involved. In many cases, the other parent does have some visitation rights; however, the other parent will not have any legal rights when it comes to the child.
This is very different from joint custody, where the parents share duties and time with the child. Joint custody might be favored if the court believes it is in the child’s best interests to have both parents in that child’s life.
Rely on an Experienced Utah Divorce Lawyer
Attorney David Pedrazas has more than 20 years of experience in divorce law. The Law Office of David Pedrazas, PLLC, is committed to providing clients with the personalized help they need. Recognized as one of the top attorneys in the region by the National Academy of Family Law Association, he can help you as well. Contact us today to learn more about our services!