In terms of custody, there are a variety of arrangements that can be made. The most common arrangements are for either sole custody, joint custody, or shared custody. With sole custody, a custodial parent has a child or children living with them a vast majority of the time. They also have sole decision making with respect to major decisions affecting the children. The non-custodial parent is still usually informed of the decisions and kept in the loop. They are still generally entitled to receive medical records and school records, but the custodial parent has no specific obligation to meaningfully discuss proposed decisions in advance.
There are a variety of different ways to handle joint custody, as well. Usually, it means that the non-custodial parent gets at least alternate weekends, one or two dinner visits or even overnights on weekdays, a splitting of holidays and breaks from school, and decision-making with the custodial parent. Sometimes, the parties have exactly 50/50 decisions and if there is a disagreement, they either have to go to mediation or to family court for a judge or mediator to make a final decision. There is also what is called the “professional model,” where if the parties have a disagreement on a decision in which a professional is involved, they can defer the decision to that professional. A common example would be a proposed medical treatment & they defer to the decision of the pediatrician.
Shared custody is rarer than sole custody or joint custody and usually entails an exact 50/50 split of parenting time. That would also usually entail an exact 50/50 split of decision-making, with certain tiebreakers built-in if there is any disagreement.
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