Joint legal custody:
This means that both parents share the responsibility to make decisions regarding the child's health, education and welfare.
Sole legal custody:
This means that one parent has primary control over decisions regarding the child's health, education and welfare.
This measures the amount of time that the children spend with each parent.
Joint physical custody:
This means each parent has "significant periods" of physical custody. Physical custody must be shared in such a way as to assure the child "frequent and continuing contact with both parents."
Primary physical custody:
This means that the children will spend most of their time under the care of one parent, while enjoying visitation with the other parent.
Joint legal custody with one parent having primary physical custody:
In this case, the parents share decision-making responsibility, but the child resides with only one of the parents.
When issuing child custody and visitation orders, courts consider two things:
1. The court's primary concern is to assure the children's health, safety and welfare.
2. The custody/visitation award must assure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have ended their relationship and encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing.