Partial custody is when a parent or guardian has a portion of the custody rights with regards to a child or children. Usually, "partial custody" means that the person has less custody rights or visitation time than the other parent. The parent with more custody rights is usually called the "primary custodial parent"; the other parent is then called the non-custodial parent. These terms may vary by jurisdiction.

Partial custody is usually related to joint custody arrangements. Joint custody implies that the parents have unequal custody rights. Custody arrangements where the parents have equal time is usually called shared custody.

How Are Custody Rights Divided?

Child custody rights may be divided according to a number of different factors. These factors for analysis include:

  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • Financial background of each party
  • The child’s needs and in some cases, the child’s preferences
  • Decisions or inputs from agencies such as a child welfare department

Division of custody rights is usually determined by a judge in a court proceeding. However, the judge may also consider any previous agreements or admissions made by the parties outside of court (such as during a family mediation meeting).

Can Partial Custody Rights Be Revoked or Taken Away?

Custody rights can often be revoked or taken away under certain circumstances. These include:

  • Criminal charges or violations
  • Violations of child custody orders or visitation orders
  • Instances of domestic abuse, child abuse, child neglect, or other family law violations
  • Incapacity or incarceration of the parent

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Partial Custody Laws?

Partial custody laws are different in each area. You may wish to hire a qualified child custody lawyer in your area if you have any questions or concerns regarding child custody. For instance, if you wanted to submit a petition requesting partial custody of a child, an experienced attorney will be able to represent you and guide you throughout that process.