Glossary

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This legal glossary is a basic guide to common legal terms. A lawyer is in the best position to advise you about your legal rights and responsibilities.

Different terms may have different meanings based on the specific area of law or the context in which they are being used. For legal terms not referred to in this glossary, or for more comprehensive definitions, you may wish to refer to a legal dictionary or to an internet resource.

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Custody
  1. The care and control of a thing or a person. For example, in criminal matters, a person is taken into custody upon arrest or while awaiting trial.
  2. In family law cases, this describes the arrangement made for the care of children when parents separate or children are found in need of protection. Different types of child custody arrangements include:
    Joint Custody
    The children live primarily with one parent and the other parent spends regular time with the children. However, the parents jointly make decisions about the children.
    Shared Custody
    Where both parents are involved in decision-making about the children and share in their on-going care. According to the Child Support Guidelines, shared custody is where the children live at least 40% of the time with each parent.
    Sole Custody
    The children live with one parent, and that parent has the right and responsibility to make major decisions about the child's care, education, religious instruction and welfare. The other parent usually has access to the child.
    Split Custody
    When the parents have more than one child together and each parent has custody of one or more of those children.