Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (Custody)
The allocation of parental responsibilities, often referred to as "child custody", legally determines which caretaker(s) is responsible for the caretaking functions of a child(s). A custody arrangement becomes legally binding through a parenting plan that is approved and ordered by a judge in court.
Oftentimes, only one caretaker is given primary custody of the child. The parent with primary responsibility for their child is called the custodial parent. The parent that has not been given primary custody is the child's non-custodial parent.
Alternatively, both of the child's parents can be given joint-custody.
Some additional things to know about custody:
One does NOT have to be paying child support in order to get custody of a child
A parenting plan can be changed (modified), but generally only within TWO (2) YEARS of its being ordered
One does not necessarily have to be the child's legal parent in order to get custody of the child. In some cases, a child's grandparent, step-parent, or even someone who is not biologically related to the child can get custody