Legal Dictionary

sole custody

Definition of sole custody


sole custody (uncountable)

  1. An arrangement whereby only one parent has physical and legal custody of a child while the other parent has visitation rights.

Related terms

Further reading

Sole custody arrangements have generally be considered a traditional form of custody for many in the past, however there has been a trend since the 1980s towards joint custody arrangements being more favorable. Sole custody consists of an arrangement whereby only one parent has physical and legal custody of a child.

Other forms of custody

  • alternating custody - an arrangement whereby the child/children live for an extended period of time with one parent, and then for a similar amount of time with the other parent. While the child/children are with the parent, that parent retains sole authority over the child/children.
  • bird's nest custody - an arrangement whereby the parents go back and forth from a residence in which the child/children reside, placing the burden of upheaval and movement on the parents rather than the child/children.
  • joint custody - an arrangement whereby both parents have legal custody and/or both parents have physical custody.
  • split custody - an arrangement whereby one parent has full time custody over some children, and the other parent has full custody over the other children.
  • third-party custody - an arrangement in whereby the children do not remain with either biological parent, and are placed under the custody of a third person.


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1.     lex situs
2.     lex causae
3.     lex loci delicti commissi
4.     lex loci celebrationis
5.     lex domicilii
6.     Clayton's Case
7.     AORO
8.     Miranda warning
9.     lex patriae
10.     defence of property