Alternating custody

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Alternating custody, also known as serial custody or shared custody, is an arrangement in which children live for long periods of time with one parent, and then spend a similar amount of time with the other parent.[1] The primary difference between alternating custody and joint custody is that in alternating custody, the parent that currently has the child also retains sole authority over the child/children for the duration that the child/children are with said parent.[1] The general reason for using this arrangement rather than a more commonly used arrangement is that the parents tend to live too far away from each other to allow for other arrangements to be feasible.[1]

Other forms of custody[edit]

  • Sole custody is an arrangement whereby only one parent has physical and legal custody of a child.
  • Joint custody is an arrangement whereby both parents have legal custody and/or both parents have physical custody.
  • Split custody is an arrangement whereby one parent has full-time custody over some children, and the other parent has full custody over the other children.
  • Third-party custody is an arrangement in whereby the children do not remain with either biological parent, and are placed under the custody of a third person.
  • Bird's nest custody is an arrangement whereby the parents go back and forth from a residence in which the child/children reside, placing the burden of upheaval and movement on the parents rather than the child/children.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Webster Watnik (April 2003). Child Custody Made Simple: Understanding the Laws of Child Custody and Child Support. Single Parent Press. pp. 16–38. ISBN 978-0-9649404-3-7. Retrieved 25 September 2011.