There are two basic types of custody sole custody and joint custody. Sole custody means that one parent has legal custody of the child. Joint custody means that the parents share legal custody of the child. Some state laws such as Arizona divide joint custody into joint legal custody and joint physical custody.
Other states use different names for custody, such as legal custody, partial custody and shared custody. For example, Pennsylvania law defines legal custody, as the legal right to make major decisions affecting the best interest of a minor child, including, but not limited to, medical, religious and educational decisions.