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TYPES OF CUSTODY IN PENNSYLVANIA
Custody falls into two categories in Pennsylvania: physical and legal. Physical custody is the actual possession and control of a child. Legal custody is the right to make major decisions on behalf of the child, including, but not limited to, medical, religious and educational decisions.
Within those two categories of custody, a court may award the following type(s) of custody based on the best interests of the child:
- Shared physical custody. This is the right of more than one individual to assume physical custody of the child, each having significant periods of physical custodial time with the child.
- Primary physical custody. The right to assume physical custody of the child for the majority of the time.
- Partial physical custody. The right to assume physical custody of the child for less than a majority of the time.
- Sole physical custody. The right of one individual to exclusive physical custody of the child.
- Supervised physical custody. Custodial time during which an agency or an adult designated by the court or agreed upon by the parties monitors the interaction between the child and the individual with those rights.
- Shared legal custody. The right of more than one individual to legal custody of the child.
- Sole legal custody. The right of one individual to exclusive legal custody of the child.
What about visitation? Visitation is no longer a term recognized by the state of Pennsylvania. When term “visitation” is used in reference to custody it may be construed to mean: partial physical custody, shared physical custody, or supervised physical custody.