Definition of Full Custody

By Anna Green

Full custody is a legal term that refers to the physical care for a child, and the responsibilities and rights afforded to parents. Contrary to the plain-language implications of the term, "full custody" and "sole custody" are not the same.

Decision Making

Full custody means parents have full rights to make medical, legal and educational decisions for their child.

Financial Support

A parent with full custody has the responsibility to financially provide for the child and meet his basic needs.

Physical Custody

Full custody entails physically caring for the child on a full-time or part-time basis.

Shared Custody

Two parents can share full custody of a child. In situations where parents have joint custody, as long as the mother and father retain their legal rights, both can have full custody.

Full Custody and Visitation

When only one parent has full custody, he still must comply with all court orders regarding visitation with the noncustodial parent.

About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.