Unless it is proven that a parent is unfit, there is a trend in the Family Courts to award custody in a manner that will give the non-custodial parent an opportunity to play a larger role in their child’s life.
It is very rare in today’s society for a court to award sole legal custody.
If you divorce with small children, deciding child custody will be one of the issues you deal with during the divorce process.
The main types of custody are Legal, Physical and Joint or, a variation on one or the other.
In most states, the courts will award joint legal custody so that both parents can retain their legal rights as far as any decisions made about or for their child. Physical Custody: Physical custody means that the child lives with one parent with "visitation" rights for the non-custodial parent.
If the child spends an equal amount time with both parents then the state might award joint physical custody giving parents equal parenting time with the child.
Even when the court orders sole physical custody, the non-custodial parent is able to enjoy ample visitation.
Custody, in most cases, is decided between parents with no input from the courts.
There are, however, special situations, those in which parents can't come to an agreement and the court has to intervene.