Different possible custody arrangements?

There are all sorts of custody terms and whatever you decide, make sure your final agreement has the definition of the terms you used. Joint legal and joint physical custody with equal time would mean, you divide time, and decisions equally between you and your ex.
Joint legal would mean that you share equally decisions such as medical, religious and schooling. The small decisions can be made without consulting the other parent.
Primary legal and physical custody would mean that parent has the majority of the decision making and time spent with the child, with the other parent having little to no part in major decisions and visitations set by a schedule, usually every other weekend and one day during the week.
You could draw up the papers to reflect that you have primary legal custody and joing physical custody…just make sure to put into the papers what those terms means to you and your stbx with as many details as you feel necessary. Who buys clothes, who pays for school supplies, daycare, who carries insurance (medical and dental) and who takes them to these visits. It can also be put in that you will mutually agree to divide all expenses within reason after thirty days of presenting the other parent with a valid receipt. You may find this is a bit much but there are expenses that come up that are not always classified and those will need to be delt with. And the other parent may purchase things that you do not feel you should pay for…that will need to be delt with also.
My husband’s ex would buy clothes, give him a copy of the receipt and then take the clothes back after he reimbursed her. We usually bought things without even bothering to ask for 1/2 the money back… it just depends on how petty either of you want to be and how much you are willing to work together. It’s not a competition and if you or your ex turn it into one then normally, the child will realize he/she can get what he/she wants regardless simply because one parent is trying to outdo the other. They will learn to play you against each other and you will always end up arguing.
Think of the days that you have your child, then the weeks and months, during school and during summer. Think of everything that could possibly come up and realize that you and your ex will always be that child’s parents and will need to, at some point or other, communicate about that child. I’m glad you are trying to make this amicable and hope you can continue so that your child is not put in the middle.
Good Luck

First, congratulations on being able to work through most of these issues with your Husband. It is always better for the parents to keep control over their custody arrangements. This state does not have any standard schedules, you can come up with any schedule that suits you and your husband and your child. Legal custody or decision making is different from physical custody. It is possible for one party to have legal custody while sharing physical custody equally, or close to equally. You should be aware that the default in this state is for joint legal custody. Good luck.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
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Charlotte, NC 28262
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My husband and I split up five months ago, with him moving out of our home to an apartment. We are currently sharing visitation of our 7 year old child, based on a calendar/schedule we created. We are just starting to talk things through regarding our separation/divorce agreement and would like to know the different possible custody arrangements. We’d like to have as much talked through together as possible, and agreed upon, prior to working with our lawyers on our final agreement. We are trying to get along during this process, though we have our good and bad days. [;)]

There are some issues (medical) with my husband that do have me concerned for his ability to completely care for our son in the future. So, custody is a concern for me. Basically, are the options just full custody or joint custody? I keeping hearing about primary custody, as well. We will be splitting our son’s expenses.

Can one parent have full custody (in terms of the legal ability to make all decisions) and still have the other parent have 40-45% visitation?

Basically, I’m not clear on what it all means or what our options are. Is there a list somewhere of all the possible variations of custory arragements? Thank you for your time.