By far, the most common child custody situation post-divorce is co-parenting. In certain situations, ex-spouses may not get along very well, and this makes a potential co-parenting situation seem unpalatable. With this being the case, it is natural to consider pursuing sole custody so as not to have to build a co-parenting relationship with a difficult ex. However, this is very unlikely to happen except for in extenuating circumstances. According to FindLaw, the only time that sole custody is reliably given out is if one parent is struggling with addiction or has a history of violence.  

There are two specific types of custody that fall under the umbrella of “child custody.” These are referred to as “legal” and “physical” custody. In a co-parenting relationship, both parents share legal custody of the child. This means that both parents have equal say when it comes to deciding on situations relative to the child, such as religious upbringing, educational decisions, and medical care. Physical custody refers to where the child actually lives. In a co-parenting relationship, the child will spend time equally at both houses. 

While maintaining a functioning co-parenting relationship can be difficult, studies have shown that co-parenting does the most for the child. Children thrive when both parents are equally involved in their lives, even when those parents do not live together or have a romantic relationship. This is why co-parenting is the most common arrangement after divorce in the modern courtroom. The job of the family court is to do what is in the best interest of the child, not necessarily what would be most comfortable for the parents.