What’s the Difference Between Primary and Partial Custody?

November 21, 2018 / 10:39 am

Divorce can be a frightening experience, partly because there is so much uncertainty involved.

You look to the future and see only questions that you can’t answer

“Where do I go from here?”

“Can I afford this?”

And, most importantly, “What’s going to happen to my kids?”

This last one is likely to be a major issue in settling your divorce case. That’s why we’ve put together this list of common questions you might have about deciding child custody.

What types of child custody arrangements are there?

There are a few main types of child custody:

  1. Sole physical custody – This is a situation where one parent alone has the child or children’s physical custody. The other parent is considered the non-custodial parent and can often maintain some level of contact with the children.
  2. Shared physical custody – Also known as joint custody, this is a situation in which both parents have the right to maintain frequent contact with their children.
  3. Primary physical custody – One parent has custody of a child/children more than 50 % of the time.
  4. Partial custody – One parent has custody of the child/children less than 49% of the time. weekend.

There are some cases where a judge might order supervised visitations, but these only occur in cases involving child abuse, neglect or anytime a parent might be a danger to their child. These visits are monitored by a friend or family member or – in more severe cases – an uninvolved third person.

Will my kids have to testify?

The court may want to hear from your kids, but don’t picture a Law & Order type scenario with some aggressive lawyer grilling your son or daughter on the witness stand. In many cases, the judge will simply just meet with children in their chambers to get your child’s input.

How does the judge decide who gets custody of our kids?

Courts take several factors into consideration when deciding which types of child custody are appropriate for different couples. In Pennsylvania, the courts must address 16 factors in a custody determination. Those factors include such things as any history of domestic violence, the parents’ willingness to co-parent with each other, the child’s preference (if age appropriate), the physical location of each parent’s home, the child’s sibling and the availability of other extended family members.

As we said earlier, going through a divorce can be scary, or at least confusing. If you need guidance on the different types of child custody, contact the Bucks County law firm of Penglase & Benson.

Our lawyers have nearly seven decades in combined experience in helping clients reach custody agreements that protect their children. Contact us today to learn more.