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There are several different types of custody arrangements that are possible when settling a divorce. You and your ex could wind up with one of you having sole custody of the children. Or, you can also decide that joint custody is the best option. In joint custody, you both retain time with the children. You will probably also decide on visitation rights when you decide what type of custody works. And finally, there are a few situations where temporary custody might be appropriate. When deciding custody, a judge will do their best to look at what is in the best interests of the children. It’s very helpful to have an experienced divorce attorney by your side to help advocate for you before the judge.

Different Types of Custody Arrangements after Divorce: Figuring Out Your Options

Sole Custody

Sole custody is one of the different types of custody arrangements you might come across during a divorce. This type of custody means that one parent is the decision-maker for the children. They typically keep the children with them for the majority of the time. The parent that has sole custody is the “custodial parent” and the other parent is the “non-custodial parent.”

Joint Custody

Another of the different types of custody arrangements after divorce is joint custody. In joint custody, both parents have to decide together on major decisions in the child’s life. The time spent with each parent is not necessarily split down the middle in joint custody. However, each parent will keep a close relationship with the child. This type of situation requires both of the parents to be cordial and able to communicate fairly about major decisions.


While it is not one of the different types of custody arrangements, visitation plays a big part in divorce as well. In a sole custody situation, visitation gives the non-custodial parent the right to visit their children and remain in contact with them. The custody order might include a specific calendar for how visitation will work. If there is any threat to the child’s safety from the non-custodial parent, the judge might order supervised visitation.

Temporary Custody

One final option in the different types of custody arrangements is not very common. This is temporary custody. Temporary custody might happen if one parent is seeking to have the children while the custody decision is actually going on. If it is in the best interest of the child, the judge might order temporary custody. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that that same parent will get sole custody.

There are several different types of custody arrangements that might happen after a divorce. A judge will work with the spouse’s lawyers to determine what is in the best interests of the children. In some cases, one parent might be awarded sole custody. At other times, joint custody might be a better option for everyone. In most situations, the judge will include a schedule for visitation along with the custody order. And in some rarer cases, a judge might award temporary custody to one parent or the other while they make a decision. Hopefully, you and your family will figure out what arrangement works best for you and can co-parent healthily.