Sole custody

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Sole custody is a child custody arrangement whereby only one parent has physical custody while either one or both parents may have legal custody of the child.[1][2] Sole custody has been the traditional form of child custody after divorce; however, there has been a trend since the 1980s towards joint physical custody with shared parenting, as research has shown that such arrangements are more favorable to the physical, mental and social well-being of children.[1][3][4][5][6]

Other forms of custody[edit]

  • Alternating custody is an arrangement whereby the child/children live for an extended period of time with one parent, and then for a similar amount of time with the other parent. While the child/children are with the parent, that parent retains sole authority over the child/children.
  • 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.
  • Joint physical custody is an arrangement whereby the child lives approximately equal time with both parents.
  • 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Elissa P. Benedek; Catherine F. Brown (1998). How to Help Your Child Overcome Your Divorce. Newmarket Press. pp. 44–45. ISBN 978-1-55704-461-7. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Judith S. Wallerstein; Joan B. Kelly (22 August 1996). Surviving the Breakup: How Children and Parents Cope with Divorce. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-08345-9. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  4. ^ Patrick Parkinson (21 February 2011). Family Law and the Indissolubility of Parenthood. Cambridge University Press. pp. 45–49. ISBN 978-0-521-11610-7. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  5. ^ Linda Nielsen (2018). "Joint Versus Sole Physical Custody: Children's Outcomes Independent of Parent–Child Relationships, Income, and Conflict in 60 Studies". Journal of Divorce & Remarriage. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage. 59 (4): 247–281. doi:10.1080/10502556.2018.1454204.
  6. ^ Linda Nielsen (June 20, 2017). "10 Surprising Findings on Shared Parenting After Divorce or Separation". Institute for Family Studies.