Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody: Understanding the Difference When a court makes a determination regarding the custody of a child, it typically makes two types of orders: legal custody and physical custody. Understanding the difference …

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody: Understanding the Difference

When a court makes a determination regarding the custody of a child, it typically makes two types of orders: legal custody and physical custody. Understanding the difference between legal and physical custody is critical to understanding the court’s ruling.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is the right and responsibility to make major decisions in a child’s life, such as decisions concerning education, medical care, religious training, and other matters of a fundamental nature. In most cases, legal custody is awarded to both of the parents and is known as “joint legal custody.” This means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. However, a court may award “sole legal custody” to one parent if it determines that it is in the best interests of the child.

Physical Custody

Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to the physical location of the child and the parent with whom he or she will reside. In most cases, the court will award “joint physical custody,” meaning that the child will reside with each parent for a significant period of time. Depending on the circumstances, the court may also order “sole physical custody,” meaning that the child will reside primarily with one parent.

Conclusion

It is important to understand the difference between legal and physical custody when a court makes a determination regarding the custody of a child. Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make major decisions in a child’s life, while physical custody refers to the physical location of the child and the parent with whom he or she will reside.

Legal vs. Physical Custody

What is Legal Custody?

Legal custody is the right to make major decisions concerning the welfare of a minor child and is typically awarded to one or both parents. These decisions include education, religious upbringing, medical and dental care, and extracurricular activities. In the event that one parent is awarded sole legal custody, the other parent may still have visitation rights and may even be consulted about major decisions.

What is Physical Custody?

Physical custody is the right to have a minor child reside with you. This includes the right to make day to day decisions concerning the child. In the event that one parent is awarded sole physical custody, the other parent may still have visitation rights and may even be awarded joint legal custody.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Legal and Physical Custody

One of the main advantages of legal custody is that the parent with legal custody maintains the right to make major decisions concerning the child’s welfare. This can provide a sense of stability and security for the parent and the child. The disadvantage of legal custody is that it can lead to conflict between the parents if they disagree on an issue.

In the case of physical custody, the advantage is that the child can live with the parent of their choice. The disadvantage is that the other parent may not have frequent contact with the child if the other parent is awarded sole physical custody. Additionally, the parent who is not awarded physical custody may have limited input into day-to-day decisions concerning the child.

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