Report No. 257
c. Section 19C: Definitions.
This section offers two key definitions, i.e., joint custody and sole custody. Joint custody is where both parents share physical custody of the child (in such proportion as the court determines to be for the welfare of the child), and also equally share the responsibility for the care and control of the child, and decision-making authority. Sole custody is a situation where one parent retains the physical care and control of a child. However, these rights may be subject to the power of the court to grant visitation rights to the other parent.
The introduction of joint custody as a defined term is to recognise the possibility, in law, of a court issuing an order of joint custody, if it is for the welfare of the child. However, the definition of joint custody, and the substantive provisions that follow, must always be read in light of the objectives that open the chapter, which seek to ensure that the custody arrangement eventually granted is always subject to the welfare of the child being met.