When courts and parents decide about child custody, they do what’s in the child’s best interests. In the world of child custody, there are various types of arrangements, and each comes with different rights and responsibilities for the parents. Parents work with a family law attorney in Indianapolis to help achieve the best outcome. Below are the most common types of child custody agreements.

What is Child Custody

According to the court, “Child custody” refers to the rights and responsibilities of parents for taking care of their children. It would help if parents or guardians also decided on “visitation,” which means how and when each parent will spend time with the children.

Types of Child Custody

Physical Custody

This type of custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child will live most of the time. Custody is granted solely to one parent or jointly to both. Sole physical custody usually means that the other parent will have limited access to the child, such as a few hours each week or specific visitation time.

Joint Custody

When parents share joint physical custody, the child divides their time between both parents’ homes. This arrangement is often only feasible if the parents live close to each other. Joint custody gives both parents the right and the ability to make decisions about the child is raised. In some cases, you can be granted joint physical custody but not joint legal custody or vice versa.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is the parent’s ability to decide how the child is raised, like where they go to school and receive healthcare. Many parents are awarded joint legal custody, even if they are not given joint physical custody. Legal custody also allows both parents to have a say in how the child is raised.

Sole Custody

A parent with sole custody is the person to have physical and legal custody of the child. Often this arrangement is used in situations where the other parent is unfit to provide care. Common reasons for sole custody include incarceration, drug or alcohol addiction, or one parent’s financial instability.

Guardianship and Third Party Custody

The terms “guardianship” and also “third-party custody” are commonly used reciprocally. Nonetheless, although the concepts are comparable in nature, it is very important to be aware of the differences between both. This is necessary to assist you in determining which alternative fits your demands, should you find yourself in this particular situation.

The major differences between guardianships and third-party custodianship are:


  • Guardianships are submitted in Probate Court.
  • The possible guardian has to show that the moms and dad( s) is/are both unfit, reluctant, or unable to take care of the child.
  • A guardianship requires a yearly reporting to the Court of probate regarding the wellness of the child.

Third-Party Custody Agreement

  • Third-party custody agreement is a request filed in Family Court.
  • A prospective third-party custody agreement has to prove that “each parent is unfit, inappropriate or unable to be custodian, or the well-being of the kid requires, and also it remains in the best passions of the child” to be positioned in the potential custody treatment.
  • Third-party custody agreement does not need annual reporting to the Court.