Sole custody is a rare arrangement in which one parent has complete physical and/or legal rights to the child. Sole custody is reserved for situations where it has been demonstrated that it’s not in the best interest of the children for both parents to make decisions about their care, such as in cases of child abuse or drug addiction. In cases of sole custody, the parent who does not have custody is called the “noncustodial” parent.
A noncustodial parent can still be given visitation time with their children, in some cases under supervision. It’s more common to find cases where one parent has sole physical custody (the children live with one parent and have visits with the other parent) but both parents retain joint legal custody (the ability to make decisions about how the child will be raised, such as where they will go to school and what religious traditions they partake in). A Maryland child custody attorney can provide more information about this arrangement.