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What Is Partial Custody?

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What Is Partial Custody?

The term “partial custody” refers to child custody arrangements in which one parent has more time with the child or children than the other parent does. This is different from other types of child custody, such as full custody (only one parent has custody) or shared custody (the parents split the custody time).

Partial custody is similar to joint custody, in which the custody is different for each parents. In most cases, the parent with more custody time also has legal custody. This means they are also responsible for making legal decisions for the child. In many cases, the parent with less custody rights also makes some child support payments each month. Of course, these terms and arrangements may vary with each case and by jurisdiction as well.

How Is Custody Divided in a Partial Custody Arrangement?

In most cases, partial custody begins with one parent having full or sole custody. What happens next is that the court decides that the other parent (or legal guardian) should be granted some custody rights. This is different from shared or joint custody arrangements which are granted right at the beginning of a divorce or separation.

In this sense, partial custody is seen more as a “taking away” of some of the rights of the custodial parent, and transferring them in part to the other parent. In any event, the distribution of custody rights is based on factors such as:

  • The child’s best interests
  • The child’s relation to each parent
  • The physical, mental, and emotional health of each parent
  • Each parent’s financial capabilities
  • Whether there were any instances of child abuse or neglect
  • Special needs of the child, if any

Can a Custody Arrangement Be Changed or Contested?

Certainly. In many instances, it may be necessary to modify an existing child custody or visitation order. This can happen for instance, if there are “major changes in the life circumstances” of either parent. Examples of these include a new job or a loss of a job, relocation to another state, or getting remarried. A formal petition would be needed in order to have a custody order adjusted or changed.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Partial Custody Laws?

Child custody arrangements can often be difficult to deal with, and can also be subject to adjustments over time. You may need to hire a family lawyer if you need help with any child custody issues. A qualified attorney in your area can help you file a claim or review paperwork as needed for your case. Also, if you need to make any changes to an existing order, your attorney can represent you with regards to those needs as well.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-21-2014 06:19 AM PDT

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